Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: General Nelson's Scout
Author: Dunn, Byron A. (Byron Archibald)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "General Nelson's Scout" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



GENERAL NELSON'S SCOUT

[Illustration: As lightly as a Bird he cleared the Fence.]



General Nelson's Scout

BY

Byron A. Dunn

[Illustration: Decoration]

Chicago
A. C. McClurg and Company
1898


COPYRIGHT

BY A. C. McCLURG & COMPANY

A. D. 1898

_All rights reserved_


                     TO
                   Milton,
               MY LITTLE SON,
     WHO WAS GREATLY INTERESTED IN THE STORY
           OF "GENERAL NELSON'S SCOUT,"
              WHILE BEING WRITTEN,
       AND WHO GAVE ME MANY VALUABLE HINTS,
               THIS VOLUME IS
           AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED.



INTRODUCTION.


Throughout the following pages the threads of history and fiction are
closely interwoven. The plot of the story is laid in the dark and stormy
days of 1861, amid the waving trees and blue grass fields of Central
Kentucky.

No State wept more bitter tears at the commencement of the dreadful
struggle between the North and the South than Kentucky. With loving arms
she tried to encircle both, and when she failed, in the language of one
of her most eloquent sons, "So intense was her agony that her great
heart burst in twain."

Resolutions of neutrality did little good. Sympathies and beliefs are
not controlled by resolutions or laws, and never can be. Kentucky was
divided into two great hostile camps. The Secession element was very
active, and the Union men saw the State slowly but surely drifting into
the arms of the Confederacy.

Then it was that Lieutenant William Nelson of the United States navy, a
well-known and very popular Kentuckian, asked the privilege of raising
ten regiments of Kentucky troops. The request was granted, and Nelson at
once commenced his task. Only a man of iron determination and the
highest courage would have dared to undertake such a work. He became the
object of the fiercest hatred and opposition,--even from many who
professed to love the Union. But he never wavered in his purpose, and
established a camp for his recruits at Dick Robinson, a few miles east
of Danville.

Here it is that the story opens, and Nelson is the chief historic
figure--a figure with many imperfections, yet it can be said of him as
it was of King James V., in "The Lady of the Lake":


     "On his bold visage middle age
     Had slightly pressed its signet sage,
     Yet had not quenched the open truth
     And fiery vehemence of youth;
     Forward and frolic glee was there,
     The will to do, the soul to dare."


All military movements chronicled in the story are historically correct.
The riot in Louisville, the fight for the arms, the foiling of the plot,
the throwing of the train from the track, are all historical incidents.

Every real character in the story is called by his true name. In this
class belong Colonel Peyton and his son Bailie. The high character of
the one and the eloquence of the other are not overdrawn.

The story of Shiloh, as told, may be contradicted, but, the author
believes, cannot be successfully controverted. Had it not been for
General Nelson, Buell's army would never have reached the battlefield of
Shiloh Sunday night.

Fred Shackelford and Calhoun Pennington, the heroes of the story, are
children of the imagination, as well as their relatives and friends.

With this brief introduction, the author sends forth this little volume,
hoping that the rising generation may not only read it, but enjoy it,
and be somewhat enlightened by it.

Through bitter tears and dreadful carnage the Union was preserved; and
through it all there has come a great blessing. Thoroughly united, the
North and the South are vying with each other in upholding the honor of
the flag. Shoulder to shoulder they stand, battling that the last
remnant of tyranny may be driven from the New World.

B. A. D.

WAUKEGAN, ILL., June, 1898.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER                               PAGE
    I. THE QUARREL AND THE OATH         15
   II. THE MEETING WITH NELSON          22
  III. THE DAY AFTER BULL RUN           34
   IV. THE TRIP TO NASHVILLE            58
    V. FATHER AND SON                   80
   VI. THE FIGHT FOR THE ARMS           98
  VII. THE FOILING OF A PLOT           115
 VIII. A DARING DEED                   135
   IX. A LEAP FOR LIFE                 153
    X. IN THE HANDS OF THE ENEMY       167
   XI. CRAZY BILL SHERMAN              187
  XII. A DESPERATE ENCOUNTER           195
 XIII. THE MEETING OF THE COUSINS      206
  XIV. THE BATTLE OF MILL SPRINGS      227
   XV. A FIGHT WITH GUERRILLAS         238
  XVI. FORT DONELSON                   253
 XVII. AFTER THE BATTLE                267
XVIII. "WE BOTH MUST DIE"              279
  XIX. SHILOH                          294
   XX. "MY SON! MY SON!"               311



ILLUSTRATIONS.


As lightly as a Bird he cleared the Fence           _Frontispiece._

He plunged forward, and passed the Goal
half-a-length ahead                           _Facing page_      22

He dealt the Ruffian such a Blow that he fell like a log         54

As quick as a flash Fred snatched a Revolver from the holster    78

"You here!" gasped the Major, and he made a grab for
his collar                                                      130

"Fire! Fire!" thundered a Colonel who had just sprung
out of the foremost car                                         142

Fred raised his Head, "Ferror! Ferror!" he cried                186

The Federals were among them, shooting, sabering,
riding them down                                                202

The Battle now raged along the entire line with great fury      236

Fred drew his Revolver, and the Guerrilla dropped
from his horse                                                  246

"Why, Boys, they are trying to get away; we mustn't let them"   266

"For God's Sake, don't shoot! I promise"                        290

Springing from his horse, he bent over the death-like form      316



GENERAL NELSON'S SCOUT.



CHAPTER I.

THE QUARREL AND THE OATH.


A short distance from Danville, Kentucky, on the afternoon of July 21,
1861, two boys might have been seen seated by the roadside under the
branches of a wide-spreading oak. Near by, tethered to the stout rail
fence which ran along the side of the road, were two spirited
thoroughbred horses that champed their bits and restlessly stamped their
feet, unnoticed by their young owners, who seemed to be engaged in a
heated discussion.

The two boys were nearly the same age and size, and were cousins.
Calhoun Pennington, who was the more excited of the two, was very dark,
and his black hair, which he wore long, was flung back from a broad and
handsome forehead. His countenance was flushed with anger, and his eyes
fairly blazed with suppressed wrath.

His companion, Frederic Shackelford, was not quite as large as Calhoun,
but his frame was more closely knit, and if it came to a trial of
strength between the two, it would take no prophet to tell which would
prove master.

Frederic was as fair as his cousin was dark. His eyes were deep blue,
and his hair had a decided tinge of red. The firm set lips showed that
he was not only a boy of character, but of decided will. While his tones
expressed earnestness and deep feeling, his countenance did not betray
the excitement under which his cousin labored. Young as Frederic was, he
had learned the valuable lesson of self-control.

So earnest did the discussion between the two boys become, that Calhoun
Pennington sprang to his feet, and raising his clenched hand, exclaimed
in passionate tones: "Do you mean to say that Kentucky is so sunk in
cowardice that she will not enforce her proclamation of neutrality? Then
I blush I am a Kentuckian."

"I mean to say," calmly replied Frederic, "that it will be impossible
for Kentucky to enforce her ideas of neutrality. Kentuckians are no
cowards, that you know, Calhoun; but it is not a question of courage.
The passions aroused are too strong to be controlled. The North and the
South are too thoroughly in earnest; the love of the Union on one side,
the love of the rights of the States on the other, is too sincere. We
could not remain neutral, if we wished. As well try to control the
beating of our hearts, as our sympathies. We are either for the old
flag, or against it."

"I deny it," hotly cried Calhoun; "you fellows who are always preaching
about the old flag are not the only ones who love the country. It is we
who are trying to keep it from becoming an instrument of oppression, of
coercion, who really love the old flag. But I know what is the matter
with you. Owing to the teachings of that Yankee mother of yours, you are
with the Abolitionists, nigger-stealers, the mud-sills of creation,
lower and meaner than our slaves. You had better go back to those
precious Yankee relatives of yours; you have no business in Kentucky
among gentlemen."

Frederic's eyes flashed. He raised his clenched hand convulsively; then,
with a tremendous effort, he controlled himself and slowly replied:
"Calhoun, we have always been friends and companions, more like brothers
than cousins; but if you value my friendship, if you do not wish me to
become your deadliest enemy, never speak disrespectfully of my mother
again. If you do, young as I am, I shall demand of you the satisfaction
one gentleman demands of another. This refused, I shall shoot you like a
dog."

For a moment Calhoun gazed in the countenance of his cousin in silence.
In the stern, set features, the dangerous gleam of the eye, he read the
truth of what he had heard. He was fully as brave as his cousin, and for
a moment a bitter and stinging reply trembled on his lips; then his
better nature conquered, and extending his hand, he said: "There, Fred;
I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, much less reflect on the memory of
your mother. From the North though she was, she was one of the best of
women, and you know I loved her almost as much as you did yourself, for
in many ways she was a mother to me. Forgive me, Fred."

Fred grasped the extended hand, and with tears in his eyes exclaimed, "I
might have known you did not mean it, Cal. You are too noble to say
aught of one who loved you as my mother did. Forgive my hasty words."

"There is nothing to forgive, Fred; you did just right."

For a moment the boys remained silent, and then Fred resumed: "Cal, we
must both try to be charitable. Simply to be for the North or the South
does not make one a gentleman. True manhood is not measured by one's
political belief. Your father is none the less a gentleman because he is
heart and soul with the South. Calhoun, dark and fearful days are
coming--have already come. Father will be against son, brother against
brother. Members of the same family will become the deadliest enemies.
Our beloved Kentucky will be rent and torn with warring factions, and
the whole land will tremble beneath the shock of contending armies.
Ruined homes will be everywhere; little children and women will flee to
the mountains for safety."

"Not if Kentucky enforces her position of neutrality," broke in Calhoun.
"The picture you draw is one you Unionists are trying to bring about.
We, who would enforce neutrality, would avoid it."

"Calhoun, don't be deceived. You know that in many parts of Kentucky it
is dangerous now for a Union man to express his sentiments. Hundreds of
Kentuckians have left to join the Confederate army. They do so boldly
with colors flying and drums beating. On our southern border, armies are
gathering ready to spring over at a moment's notice. Kentucky cannot, if
she would, remain neutral. I feel, I know, evil times are coming--are
now here. Calhoun, a few moments ago we came near having a deadly
quarrel. I shudder as I now think of it. What if we had quarreled! What
if one of us had killed the other, we who are like brothers! Oh,
Calhoun! let us swear eternal friendship to each other. Let us promise
to be careful and not say anything to each other that will rankle and
hurt. We know not what will come, what the future has in store for us,
or whither we shall be led. Let us swear to succor and save each other,
even at the peril of our lives, if necessary. Wherever we may meet, let
us meet as friends--each ready to protect the life and honor of the
other. Let us swear it."

"Fred," slowly replied Calhoun, "it is a very strange compact you ask.
It sounds like some old story of knight-errantry. You must be getting
romantic. But when I think of how near we came to flying at each other's
throats, if you are willing to make such a solemn compact, I am."

And there, on that July evening, under the spreading oak, the boys
clasped hands and took a solemn oath to stand by each other, come what
might; even unto death would they be true to each other.

Little did either think what would be the outcome of that strange
compact. Little did they realize that the day would come when that oath,
if kept, would lead both into the very jaws of death--an ignoble and
terrible death. That oath, under the spreading oak, on that July evening
between two boys, was to become the pivot around which the fate of
contending armies depended.

Calhoun was the first to speak after the making of the solemn compact.
"Fred," he exclaimed, "now that we have sworn eternal friendship, it
will not do for us to quarrel any more. Like the man and his wife they
tell about, 'we agree to disagree.' But see how restless our horses are.
They must be disgusted with our loitering. Let us have a race. See that
tree yonder, nearly a mile away, where the Danville and Nicholasville
roads cross? I can beat you to that tree, and if I do, the South wins."

"Done," cried Fred, for he had all the love of a true Kentucky boy for a
horse race. "Now, Prince," said he, as he unhitched his horse, and
patted his glossy neck, "you hear. This race is for the old flag. Win,
or never hold up your head again."

"Selim," cried Calhoun, "how do you like that? It is the cause of the
Sunny South that is at stake. Win, Selim, or I will sell you to the
meanest Abolitionist in the North."

Both boys vaulted into their saddles, and at the word their steeds were
away like the wind.



CHAPTER II.

THE MEETING WITH NELSON.


Never was there a hotter race run in Kentucky. Neck and neck the horses
ran, neither seemingly able to gain an inch on the other. The goal grew
alarmingly near. Each rider bent over the neck of his flying steed, and
urged him on with word and spur. The tree was scarcely twenty yards
away. "Now, Prince, if ever," cried Fred. The horse seemed to
understand. With a tremendous effort, he plunged forward, and passed the
goal half a length ahead.

[Illustration: He plunged forward, and passed the Goal half-a-length
ahead.]

"Won!" cried Fred, but his huzzah died on his lips. The excitement of
the race had made the boys careless, and they ran into a squad of
horsemen who were passing along the other road. Fred came nearly
unhorsing the leader of the squad, a heavy-set, red-faced man with bushy
hair that stood up all around his large head. He was dressed in the
uniform of an officer of the United States navy. As for Calhoun, he
entirely unhorsed a black groom, who was bringing up the rear of the
squad.

The darky scrambled to his feet unhurt, and forgetting his fright in his
enthusiasm, shouted: "Golly, massa, dat was a race, suah. Dat a hoss
woth habin'." Like a true Kentucky negro, he loved a fine horse, and
gloried in a race.

But with the officer, it was different. As soon as he could quiet his
horse, he let fly such a volley of oaths that the boys sat on their
horses too dumfounded to say a word. The officer swore until he was out
of breath, and had to stop from sheer exhaustion.

At the first opportunity, Fred took off his hat and politely said:

"We beg a thousand pardons, sir, but I was racing for the old flag, and
had to win, even if I had had to run over the commander-in-chief of the
army, instead of a lieutenant of the navy."

"Lieutenant of the navy! lieutenant of the navy!" roared Nelson, for it
was he, "I will show you, young man, I command on dry land, as well as
on the water," and the air once more grew sulphurous.

"Really," dryly remarked Fred, "if you fight as well as you swear,
Kentucky will soon be clear of rebels."

Nelson's companions roared with laughter. As for Nelson, his face
twitched for a moment, and then he, too, commenced to laugh.

"It is a good thing for you, young man," he exclaimed, "that you don't
belong to the army or I would have you tied up by the thumbs. As it is,
will you tell me what you meant by saying that you were racing for the
old flag and had to win?"

"Why, sir, my cousin, here, challenged me for a race, saying if he won
the South would triumph; but if I won, the old flag would be victorious.
So you see, sir, I had to win, even if I had had to run clear over you.
You ought to thank me for winning the race, instead of swearing at me
for jostling your dignity a little."

Nelson chuckled.

All of this time Calhoun, after soothing his horse, had been a quiet
spectator of the scene. He felt nettled over losing the race, and was
not in the best of humor.

"So," said Nelson, turning to Calhoun, "you ran for the South to win,
did you? Might have known you would have been beaten. What have you got
to say for yourself, anyway, you ---- little rebel?"

Calhoun's eyes flashed. Drawing himself proudly up, he said: "I am no
rebel. I am a Kentuckian, and am for the neutrality of Kentucky."

"Neutrality of Kentucky," sneered Nelson; "of whom did you learn that
twaddle, youngster? Neutrality is a plea of cowards to hide their
disloyalty."

Calhoun grew deadly pale. He forgot everything in his passion, as he
fairly hissed:

"And you are Lieutenant Nelson, are you? That recreant son of Kentucky,
who, in spite of her pledge of neutrality, the pledge of a sovereign
State, is violating that pledge by raising troops to subjugate a brave
and heroic people. You are the Benedict Arnold of Kentucky. If I had my
way, you would hang from the nearest tree. Cowards are they who would
keep the pledge of neutrality given by the State? You lie, and boy that
I am, I hurl defiance in your face," and tearing a riding glove from his
hand, he hurled it with all the force he could summon into the face of
the astonished Nelson.

For a moment Nelson was speechless with rage; then mechanically he
reached for the pistol in his holster. With a sharp exclamation, Fred
spurred his horse between the angry man and Calhoun, and striking down
Nelson's arm, cried: "How dare you! For shame, to shoot a boy!" Then
turning to Calhoun, he gave the sharp command, "Go! go at once!"

Calhoun obeyed, and boy and horse were off like a shot; without a word
of apology, Fred followed. Nelson made a movement as if to pursue, but
at once reined up his horse. The look of anger soon passed from his
face; he began to chuckle, and then to laugh.

Turning to one of his staff, he exclaimed: "Gad! Lieutenant, I came
nearly forgetting myself and shooting that boy. It would have been an
outrage. He has the grit, the true Kentucky grit. I am proud of both of
those boys. I shall keep my eye on them. What soldiers they would make!"

Such was General William Nelson, fiery, erratic, and oftentimes cruel,
but at all times ready to acknowledge true courage and manliness in his
worst enemy. To him, more than to any other one man, does the government
owe the fact that Kentucky was saved to the Union. In the face of the
fiercest opposition he never faltered in his purpose of raising troops,
and the most direful threats only nerved him to greater exertion.

The two boys looking back, and seeing that they were not pursued,
brought their horses to a trot and began to talk of their adventure.

"Fred," said Calhoun, "you are the first to get in your work on that
oath. I believe the brute would have shot me if it had not been for
you."

"You certainly gave him great provocation, Cal. It was very
ungentlemanly in him to attack you, a boy, as he did, but these are war
times. My! but you did go for him, Cal; you really looked grand in your
fiery indignation. I could not help admiring you, even if you were
foolish. It is a wonder he did not shoot you, for Nelson is a man of
ungovernable temper when aroused."

"He would have shot me, Fred, if it had not been for your brave
interference. Come to think about it, I could not blame him much, if he
had shot me; for I could not have offered him a greater insult than I
did. I was hasty and excited; you were cool and collected. Fred, I thank
you."

"No more of that, my boy. But, Cal, try and govern your tongue. Your
hasty speech and temper will get you in serious trouble yet."

"I gave the villain no more than he deserved. There is no other man in
Kentucky doing as much as Nelson to overthrow the sovereignty of the
State; there is no other man doing as much to array one portion of our
people against the rest; and if bloodshed comes, no man will be more to
blame than he. He should be arrested and hanged as a traitor to
Kentucky, and I am glad I told him so."

"Calhoun," answered Fred, "you have heard neutrality talked so much you
are blind to the real facts. Nelson was right when he said neutrality
was but a blind for secession. If Kentucky is saved to the Union, it
will be saved by the efforts of such men as he. There can be no middle
ground; you must be for or against the Union."

"I confess," answered Calhoun, "while I have been talking neutrality, my
real sympathy has been with the South. Down with coercion, I say, and
death to all renegades like Nelson."

Fred smiled. "How about renegades like myself, Cal? But I am glad to
hear you expressing your true sentiments; it shows you are honest in
them, at least."

"Fred, why can't you think as I do? You are too honest, too brave, to
side with Abolitionists and mudsills. They are a dirty, low, mischievous
set, to say the least. There can be but one issue to the war. The whole
dirty crew will run like cravens before the chivalric gentlemen of the
South."

"Don't be too sanguine, Cal, about the running. Do you think such men as
Nelson, Fry, Bramlette, Woodford, and a host of others I might name,
are cowards?"

"Oh! I didn't mean the few Kentuckians who are espousing the Union
cause, but the riff-raff and scum of the North."

"You will find the men you call the 'riff-raff and scum of the North,'
are just as earnest, just as brave, as the sons of the South."

"Do you think so?"

"Why not? Are we not of the same blood, the same language? This idea
that the people of the South are a superior race to the people of the
North is one simply born of our pride and arrogance. But you ask me why
I side with the North. Because the North battles for the old flag;
because it loves freedom. Cal, do you think a just God will ever let a
Confederacy be successful whose chief corner-stone is human slavery?"

Calhoun flushed and muttered: "They are nothing but niggers, and the
Bible upholds slavery."

"We will not argue that. My great-grandfather on my mother's side fell
on Bunker Hill. Our great-grandfather fought at Yorktown; our
grandfather was with Jackson at New Orleans. All fought under the old
flag; all fought for freedom, not for slavery. Now, do you think I can
raise my hand to help destroy the Union they helped to found, and then
to perpetuate? I cannot do it. You think differently, but let us
remember our oaths and be friends, even unto death."

"Do you think I can forget it, after what you have just done for me?
But see, the sun is getting low; let us stop this discussion and hurry
up."

Judge Pennington, the father of Calhoun, resided in Danville, and the
two boys soon cantered up to his door. Fred did not put up his horse, as
he was to return home. After tea the boys sauntered down to the hotel to
see what was going on. There they met Nelson and his party. Their first
impulse was to go away, pretending not to notice him, but that would
have been cowardly; so they walked up to him, apparently unconcerned as
to what might happen. To their surprise, Nelson held out his hand, and
laughingly said:

"How are you, my young Hotspurs; and so you want to see me hanged, do
you?" addressing Calhoun. "Well, my boy, better men than I may be hanged
before this trouble is over; and many as brave a boy as you will kiss
mother for the last time. My boy, if it needs be that we must die, would
it not be better to die under the folds of the old flag than under the
bastard stars and bars?"

Calhoun turned away; he dared not trust himself to speak, so Fred, not
to have his cousin appear rude, said: "Lieutenant, let me once more
apologize for running into you. I am very sorry we were so careless."

"No apology is necessary, my son. A boy who runs a race for the Union
and wins need not apologize. I would know you better, lad; Kentucky has
need of all such as you."

Just then an orderly rushed up to Nelson and excitedly said something
in a low tone. Nelson uttered an exclamation of surprise, turned
abruptly, and rapidly walked to the telegraph office, where a dispatch
was placed in his hands. He glanced at it, turned pale, and brave man
though he was, his hand shook as though stricken with palsy. Silently he
handed the dispatch to Colonel Fry, who stood by his side. As the
Colonel read it, great drops of sweat stood out on his forehead. "Great
God!" was all that he said.

"Fry," said Nelson, huskily, "see Colonel Bramlette, who is fortunately
in Danville; gather up all other Union officers that you may see, and
meet me at once in my room at the hotel."

It was a group of panic-stricken officers who gathered in Nelson's room
at the hotel. Here is the dispatch that had created such consternation:


     CINCINNATI, July 21, 6 P. M.

     LIEUTENANT WM. NELSON:

     Our army has been disastrously beaten at Bull Run, and are in full
     retreat for Washington. That city may be in possession of the enemy
     before morning.

     ANDERSON.


When the dispatch was read, not a word was spoken for a moment, and then
Colonel Fry asked if it was not possible to keep the dispatch secret.

"No use," replied Nelson; "it has already passed through the hands of a
score of disloyal operators."

"I knew," spoke up a young lieutenant, "that those miserable Eastern
Yankees would not stand up before the Southern soldiers. We might as
well disband and go home; all is lost."

"Lost! lost!" thundered Nelson, turning on the young lieutenant like a
tiger. "Go home, you craven, if you want to; all is not lost, and will
not be lost until every loyal son of Kentucky is slain. We have enough
men at Dick Robinson, poorly armed and equipped as they are, to hold
Central Kentucky. With such colonels as Fry, Bramlette, Garrard Wolford,
and the host of gallant officers under them, I defy the devil and all
the Secessionists in the State to wrest Central Kentucky from us."

And with loud huzzahs the officers present swore to stand by Nelson, and
come what might, they would hold Central Kentucky for the Union. How
well that pledge was kept history tells.

"It is not for Central Kentucky, I fear," continued Nelson; "it is for
Louisville. Can we save that city for the Union? It must be saved. The
loyal men there must save it, at all hazards. They must know that we are
standing firm in Central Kentucky. But how? The telegraph is in the
hands of the enemy. Any word I sent would be known at once. Oh! I have
it, Fry; send for that light-haired boy I was talking with at the hotel.
Have him here right away."

Fred Shackelford was found just as he was mounting his horse to return
home. Wondering what Nelson wanted with him, he accompanied the
messenger to that officer's room, where they found him pacing up and
down the apartment like a caged lion.

"Where is your companion?" abruptly asked Nelson of Fred.

"At home; he lives here," answered Fred.

"Where is your home?"

"A few miles out on the Richmond road."

"Your name?"

"Frederic Shackelford."

"Frederic, you have a good horse?"

"Yes, sir; one of the best and fastest in Kentucky."

"Good; now Frederic, you told me that you loved the Union."

"Yes, sir. I promised my mother on her deathbed ever to be faithful to
the old flag."

"Would Kentucky had more such mothers. A boy like you never breaks a
promise to a mother. Frederic, do you want to do your country a great
service, something that may save Kentucky to the Union?"

"What is it, sir?"

"To take some important dispatches to Louisville. Can you make
Nicholasville by ten o'clock? A train leaves there at that hour for
Lexington, thence to Louisville, arriving early in the morning."

Fred looked at his watch. "It is now seven," he said. "Yes, I can make
Nicholasville by ten o'clock, if I have the dispatches right away."

"They will be ready in ten minutes," said Nelson, turning away.

In less than ten minutes the dispatches were given to Fred with
instructions to place them at the earliest possible moment in the hands
of James Speed, Garrett Davis, J. T. Boyle, or any one of a score of
loyal Louisvillians whose names were handed him on a separate sheet of
paper.

Fred mounted his horse and rode away, and soon the swift beating of his
horse's hoofs on the dusty turnpike died away in the distance.



CHAPTER III.

THE DAY AFTER BULL RUN.


Could Frederic Shackelford reach Nicholasville in less than three hours?
"Yes, it can be done, and I will do it," thought he as he urged his
steed onward, and left mile after mile behind him. It was the test of
speed and bottom of the best horse in Kentucky against time.

While Fred is making this desperate ride, our young readers may wish to
be more formally introduced to the brave rider, as well as to the other
characters in the story. Frederic Shackelford was the only son of
Richard Shackelford, a prosperous Kentucky planter and a famous breeder
of horses. Mr. Shackelford was a graduate of Harvard, and while in
college had become acquainted with Laura Carrington, one of the belles
of Boston, and a famous beauty. But Miss Carrington's personal charms
were no greater than her beauty of mind and character. After the
completion of his college course, Mr. Shackelford married Miss
Carrington, and transplanted her to his Kentucky home. The fruits of
this union were two children, Frederic, at the opening of this story a
sturdy boy of sixteen, and Belle, a lovely little girl of twelve. Mrs.
Shackelford was very happy in her Kentucky home. She was idolized by her
husband, who did everything possible for her comfort. Yet, in the midst
of her happiness and the kindness shown her, Mrs. Shackelford could not
help feeling that there was a kind of contempt among native Kentuckians
for New England Yankees. As the strife over slavery grew fiercer, the
feeling against the North, especially New England, grew stronger. Many a
time she felt like retorting when she heard those she loved traduced,
but she hid the wound in her heart, and kept silent. But she could never
accustom herself to the institution of slavery. She was a kind mistress,
and the slaves of the plantation looked upon her as little less than an
angel; but she could never close her eyes to the miseries that slavery
brought in its train.

She died a few days after Fort Sumter was fired upon. A few hours before
she passed away she called Frederic to her bedside, told him how his
great-grandfather had died on Bunker Hill, and asked him to give her a
solemn promise to ever be true to the flag of his country.

"Remember, my son," she said, "that a just God will never prosper a
nation whose chief corner-stone is human slavery."

These words sank deep into Frederic's heart, and were ever with him
during all the dark and terrible days which followed. He readily gave
his mother the promise she requested, and a few hours afterward she sank
peacefully to rest.

As much as Frederic loved his mother, and as deeply as he grieved for
her in the months and years that followed, he thanked God that she had
been spared the misery and agony that would have been hers if she had
lived.

Mr. Shackelford was so prostrated by the death of his wife that for some
weeks he paid no attention to the turmoil going on around him. He was an
old line Whig in politics, but a stout believer in the rights of the
State. He deplored the war, and hoped against hope that some way might
be found to avert it.

Judge Horace Pennington, the father of Calhoun, was one of the most
honored citizens of Danville. He was a veritable Southern fire-eater,
and had nothing but contempt for anything that came from the North. But
his integrity was as sterling as his politics were violent. He was the
soul of honor and truth, and despised anything that looked like
deception. He had no words too strong in which to express his contempt
for the part Kentucky was taking in the great drama that was being
enacted. When the State refused to join the Southern Confederacy his
rage knew no bounds. He would have nothing to do with the plotting that
was going on. "Let us go out like men," he would say, "not creep out
like thieves." When the State declared for neutrality, he said: "The
State is sovereign; she can do as she pleases, but it is a cowardly
makeshift; it will not last."

The mother of Calhoun was a sister of Mr. Shackelford, but she died
when Calhoun was a baby, and for years another Mrs. Pennington had
presided over the Judge's household. For this reason much of the
childhood of Calhoun had been spent at the home of his uncle, and thus
it was that he and Frederic were more like brothers than cousins.

The position of Kentucky, at the beginning of the great Civil War, was
peculiar. She refused to furnish troops for the suppression of the
rebellion; she refused to secede. Her governor was an ardent
Secessionist; the majority of the members of the Legislature were for
the maintenance of the Union. Her people were nearly equally divided. As
a last resort the Legislature passed resolutions of neutrality, and both
the Federal and Confederate governments were warned not to invade her
sacred soil. For a time both governments, in part, respected her
position, and sent no troops from other States into her territory. But
the citizens of Kentucky were not neutral. They violently espoused the
cause of one side or the other. Thousands of Kentuckians left the State
and joined the armies of the Confederacy. All through the State the
secession element was very active, and the Federal government saw it
must take some action or the State would be lost to the Union. So
Lieutenant William Nelson of the United States navy, and a native
Kentuckian, was commissioned to raise ten regiments of Kentucky troops
for service in the Union army. This movement met with the most violent
opposition, even from many professed Union men, who claimed that
Kentucky's position of neutrality should be respected. The militia of
the State, known as "State Guards," was mostly officered and controlled
by the Southern element. In opposition to the "State Guards," companies
were organized throughout the State known as "Home Guards." The "Home
Guards" were Union men. Thus Kentucky was organized into two great
hostile camps. Such was the condition of affairs at the opening of this
story.

It lacked just five minutes of ten o'clock when Fred reined in his
reeking horse before the hotel at Nicholasville. Placing the bridle in
the hands of the black hostler, and handing him a ten-dollar bill, Fred
said: "I must take the train. This horse has been ridden fast and long.
See that he has every attention. You know what to do in such cases."

"Trus' ole Peter fo' dat," answered the darky, bowing and scraping.
"Youn' massa will hab his hoss bac' jes as good as ebber."

Fred just had time to catch the train, as it moved out from the depot.
When Lexington was reached he had to make a change for Louisville. The
news of the defeat of the Federal forces at Bull Run had reached
Lexington, and late as it was the streets were thronged with an excited
crowd. Cheers for Beauregard and the Southern Confederacy seemed to be
on every tongue. If the Union had friends, they were silent. In the
estimation of the excited crowd the South was already victorious; the
North humbled and vanquished. It was now but a step before Washington
would be in the possession of the Southern army, and Lincoln a prisoner
or a fugitive.

That the Union army had been defeated was a surprise to Fred. He now
knew why Nelson was so urgent about the dispatches, and realized as
never before that the nation was engaged in a desperate conflict. The
cries of the mob angered him. "I wonder where the Union men are," he
growled; "are they cowards that they keep silent?" And Fred was about to
let out a good old-fashioned yell for the Union, regardless of
consequences, when he recollected the mission he was on. It must not be;
he must do nothing to endanger the success of his journey, and he bit
his lip and kept silent, but his blood was boiling. Just before the
train started two gentlemen came in and took the seat in front of him.
They were in excellent humor, and exulting over the Confederate victory
in Virginia. One of them Fred knew by sight. He was a prominent
politician, and an officer of the State Guards. The other gentleman was
not so distinguished looking as his companion, but his keen eyes gave
his clear-cut features a kind of dare-devil expression. But beyond this,
there was something about the man that would give one the impression
that he was not only a man of daring, but of cool, calculating judgment,
just the man to lead in a movement that would require both daring and
coolness. As soon as they had seated themselves, the first gentleman,
whom we will call Major Hockoday, turned to his companion and said:

"Well, Morgan, isn't this glorious news? I knew those truckling Yankees
could never stand before the gentlemen of the South. I hardly look for
much war now. Washington will fall, and Lincoln will be on his knees
before a week, begging for peace."

Major Hockoday's companion was no less a personage than John H. Morgan,
afterward one of the most daring raiders and dashing cavalry leaders
produced by the South.

Morgan did not answer for a moment, and then slowly replied:

"Major, I think that you politicians, both North and South, ought to
show more sense than you do. There are those Northern politicians who
have been declaring the war would not last for ninety days. The time is
up, and the war has hardly begun. Now you fellows who have been
associating so long with the dough-faces of the North, think the whole
North is a truckling, pusillanimous set. In my business I have met
another class in the North--thrifty and earnest. They are not only
earnest, but brave; and not only brave, but stubborn. They will hold on
like bulldogs. I fear the effects of this victory will be just opposite
to what you think. It will make our people overconfident; it will tend
to unify the North and nerve her to greater exertion."

"Nonsense, Morgan," replied Major Hockoday, "what ails you? You will
hardly hear a peep from the Union men of Kentucky after to-morrow. The
only thing I regret is that Kentucky has not taken her rightful place in
the Southern Confederacy. We have talked neutrality so much, it is hard
to get away from it."

"Hockoday, like you, I think Kentucky has played the rôle of neutral too
long--so long that she is already lost to the Confederacy, only to be
retaken at the point of the bayonet. Central Kentucky is already in the
hands of that devil, Nelson. Poorly organized as he is, he is much
better organized than we. Gods! how I would like to be at the head of a
cavalry regiment and raid that camp at Dick Robinson; and I would do it,
too, if I had my way. But you politicians, with your neutrality, have
spoiled everything."

"Look here, Morgan," replied Major Hockoday, a little nettled, "be
reasonable. It was neutrality or worse. Look at the Union sentiment we
had to contend with. The State absolutely refused to secede. The
elections all went against us. The Legislature is against us. We had to
take neutrality to keep the State from going bodily over to the
Yankees----"

"That's it," broke in Morgan, "with your twaddle about State rights you
allowed your hands to be tied. The Legislature should have been
dispersed at the point of the bayonet, the election annulled, and
Kentucky declared out of the Union. If we had done this two months ago,
we would have been all right."

"That is what we propose to do now," said the major. "See here, Morgan,"
and he lowered his voice to a whisper. Fred yawned, and leaned his head
forward on the seat apparently for a good sleep, but his ears were never
more alert. He could only now and then catch a word something like this:

"Send message--Tompkins--Louisville--Knights Golden Circle--take
Louisville--Stop at Frankfort--Send Captain Conway--All excitement--Bull
Run--Louisville ours."

Fred leaned back in his seat, shut his eyes, and commenced to think
hard. What did it mean? And this is the conclusion that he reached: That
Major Hockoday was going to send a message from Frankfort to some one in
Louisville; that there was to be an uprising of the Secessionists with
the intention of capturing the city. "Oh!" thought Fred, "if I could
only get hold of that message. Can I?" and again he fell to thinking.

In the rear of the car sat two men, one dressed in the uniform of a
Federal officer; the other a sharp, ferret-looking man who would readily
pass for a detective.

An idea came to Fred. He thought a moment, and then said to himself, "I
don't like the deception, but it is the only way. If I have the
opportunity, I will try it. I must have that message if possible. It may
mean much to the Union cause; it may mean much to Louisville."

The train stopped at Frankfort, and Major Hockoday and Morgan alighted.
On the platform stood a short, stumpy man with a very red face and a
redder nose.

"How do you do, Captain," said Major Hockoday, stepping up to him and
shaking hands, at the same time slipping an envelope into his other
hand, and whispering some hurried instructions into his ear.

"Trust me," said the captain; "I will see that your letter reaches the
right person and in time."

Fred had followed Major Hockoday out of the car, took note of every
movement, and heard every word that could be heard.

The bell rang, and the captain entered the car. There was a little
delay, and Fred, who had got on the rear of the car, said to himself,
"This little delay is a blessed thing for me, for it helps me carry out
my plan." He waited until the train was getting under good headway, and
then entered the car puffing and blowing and dropped into the seat
beside the captain, where he sat panting as if entirely exhausted.

"You seem to have had a hard run for it, my boy," said the captain.

"Y-e-s,--had--to--make--it. Had--to--see--you," panted Fred, speaking in
gasps.

"Had to see me!" exclaimed the startled captain. "I reckon there must be
some mistake."

"No--mis-mistake. Wa-wait--until--I--catch--my--breath," and Fred sat
puffing as if he had run a mile race. His companion eyed him not only
in surprise, but with suspicion.

After Fred had let sufficient time elapse to regain his breath, he said
in a low tone: "You are Captain Conway of the State Guards, are you
not?"

"Yes, but what of that?"

"You have just received an important letter from Major Hockoday to be
delivered in Louisville."

Captain Conway stared at Fred in astonishment; then said in a fierce
whisper, "How do you know that?"

"Don't get excited," whispered Fred; "don't attract attention, or all is
lost. Listen! Hardly had the major placed the letter in your hands
before he received the startling intelligence that he had been watched,
and you spotted. Do you see those two men in the rear of the car, one in
the uniform of a Federal officer, the other a keen looking fellow?"

Captain Conway turned quickly and saw the men, both of whom happened to
be looking at him, and as the captain imagined with sinister designs.

"What of it?" he asked in a trembling voice.

"The gentleman seated by the side of the officer," continued Fred, "is a
noted detective from Danville. The plan is to declare you a celebrated
thief, and arrest you and take you off the cars at Eminence. Once off,
they will search you, get your dispatches, and let you go."

"But there may be some on the train who know me."

"That will make no difference; they will claim they are not mistaken,
and that you must prove you are not the person wanted before some
magistrate."

"What can I do? What did Major Hockoday say for me to do?" asked the now
thoroughly frightened captain.

"He said that you should give me the letter, and for you to leave the
train before it reached Eminence, thus giving them the slip."

"Boy, you are an impostor. It is simply a plot to get hold of the
letter. Why did not Major Hockoday write me this order?"

"He had no time."

"I shall not give you the letter."

"Refuse at your peril. What do you think will happen when you are
arrested and Major Hockoday's letter gets in the hands of his enemies.
He will shoot you at sight for betraying him."

"How do I know you tell the truth?" asked the captain, visibly
weakening.

"How did I know about the letter of Major Hockoday, if he had not sent
me?" retorted Fred.

The captain grasped at the last straw. "To whom am I to deliver this
letter?" he asked. He was in hopes that Fred could not answer.

"Tompkins," answered Fred, trembling, thinking his answer might be
wrong.

The captain was convinced, yet sat silent and undecided. He glanced
back; the men were still looking at him. He shivered, and then slyly
slipped the letter into Fred's hand. The train stopped, and the captain
arose and went forward as for a drink of water. At the door he hesitated
as if still undecided. Fred's heart beat fast. Would he fail after all.
No, he would jump from the train himself first. The bell rang for the
train to start, and the captain turned as if to come back, at the same
time glancing at the two gentlemen in the rear of the car. The
detective-looking individual had arisen to his feet, and was reaching
for his hip pocket.

Captain Conway waited to see no more; he turned, bolted from the car,
and plunged from the now moving train into the darkness.

The detective-looking gentleman drew a handkerchief from his pocket,
wiped his perspiring face, and sat down again. On such little incidents
do great events sometimes depend.

Fred drew a long breath. He had taken desperate chances, and won. For a
moment he felt exultant, and then his face grew serious. He had always
been the soul of truth and honor. "And now," he thought, bitterly, "I
have been lying like a pirate." Had he done right? He hardly knew, and
the wheels of the cars seemed to say, as they rattled along, "You are a
liar, you are a liar," over and over again, until he leaned his head on
the seat in front of him, and his tears fell thick and fast.

Poor Fred! He had yet to learn that deception was one of the least evils
of war.

The dawn of the long summer day was just beginning to brighten the east
when the train rolled into the station at Louisville. Early as it was,
the streets were full of excited men and boys, cheering for Jeff Davis
and the South. Fred at once found his way to the home of one of the best
known Union men of the city, whom we will call Mr. Spear. The household
was already astir, and Fred's ring was at once answered by a servant,
who cautiously opened the door and asked, "Who is dar?"

"Is Mr. Spear at home?" inquired Fred.

"Yes, sah."

"Tell him a messenger from Lieutenant Nelson wishes to see him."

The servant withdrew, and in a moment returned, and throwing open the
door, said, "Massa says, come right in, sah."

Fred was ushered into a large drawing-room, where to his surprise he met
the inquiring gaze of more than a score of serious looking men. They
were the prominent Union men of the city, conferring with a number of
the city officials as to the best method of preserving peace and order
during the day. The danger was great, and how to meet it without
precipitating a conflict was the question which confronted them. Now all
were interested in the message brought by Fred, and his youthful
appearance caused them to wonder why Nelson had chosen so young a
messenger.

"You have a message from Lieutenant Nelson, I understand," said Mr.
Spear.

"I have."

"When did you leave Nelson?"

"Last evening a little after seven," answered Fred.

"Where?"

"At Danville."

"Impossible; you are an impostor."

"You are mistaken. I rode to Nicholasville in time to catch the ten
o'clock train to Lexington, thence to Louisville."

Those present looked at each other in surprise. The feat to them seemed
scarcely possible.

"Your message," said Mr. Spear, "must be important to demand such haste.
Where is it?"

"Here, sir," replied Fred, handing him the letter. Mr. Spear hastily
tore it open and read:


     DANVILLE, KY., July 21, 7:00 P. M.
     TO THE UNION MEN OF LOUISVILLE:

     I have just received news of the defeat of our forces at Bull Run.
     Even if Washington falls, we must not despair. Kentucky must be
     held for the Union. Thank God, I have organized enough troops to
     hold Central Kentucky against any force the disorganized rebels can
     bring against us. Our great danger is your city. Hold Louisville,
     if her streets run red with blood. Do not let the loyal officials
     be driven from power. Call on Indiana troops if necessary. Don't
     hesitate. Dare anything to save the city.

     NELSON.


"Gentlemen," said Mr. Spear, "the advice of Lieutenant Nelson should be
followed to the letter. The city must be saved, peaceably if possible,
by force if necessary."

There had been a few in the assembly who had hesitated on the expediency
of using force, but the ringing words of Nelson had completely won them
over. Louisville was to be held for the Union, come what might.

"And now," said Mr. Spear, "in the name of the loyal citizens of our
city, let us thank this brave boy."

Fred blushed, and then stammered, "This is not all, gentlemen." Then in
a modest way, he told of his overhearing the conversation between Major
Hockoday and Morgan, of his plan to get possession of the letter, and
how well he had succeeded. "And here, gentlemen," he continued, "is the
letter."

There was a murmur of astonishment, and Mr. Spear, taking the letter,
broke it open and read:


     LEXINGTON, KY., July 21st, 10 P. M.
     J. T. TOMPKINS, LOUISVILLE, KY.

     Honored Sir:--The news of the great victory in Virginia will kindle
     a flame from one end of Kentucky to the other. By the time this
     reaches you, I trust Washington will be in the hands of the
     Confederate army, and Lincoln a prisoner or a fugitive. Now is the
     time to strike. The State Guards are eager, but owing to the stand
     of the State regarding neutrality, it would not be wise for them to
     begin a revolution in favor of the South, as that action would
     bring the Federal troops down on us, and we are not strong enough
     yet to resist them. With you it is different. You are at the head
     of a powerful secret order known as "The Knights of the Golden
     Circle." The State is not responsible for your acts or those of
     your organization. During the excitement of to-morrow organize your
     order, and hurl the cowardly and traitorous city officials of
     Louisville from power. The State Guards will not do anything to
     prevent you, and many, as individuals, will help you. Act promptly
     fearing nothing. See that not a single Union rag is left waving in
     Louisville by to-morrow night.

     Signed: MAJOR C. S. HOCKODAY,
     _State Guards_.


For a moment the men looked into each other's faces without a word;
then there came a storm of indignation.

"The cowardly, traitorous wretch!" was the exclamation heard on all
sides. "Forewarned is forearmed," said Mr. Spear, grimly. "Gentlemen, I
think we shall be fully prepared for Mr. Tompkins and his 'Knights of
the Golden Circle,' What say you?"

"That we will!" was the cry of all. "Mr. Tompkins will get a warm
reception."

Then they crowded around Fred and nearly shook his hand off. But he sat
silent, and at last looking up with burning cheeks, stammered:
"But--but, I lied--to Conway."

He said this so earnestly, and looked so dejected that the company at
first did not know what to say; then they all burst out laughing.

This hurt Fred worse than a reprimand, and the tears came into his eyes.
Mr. Spear seeing how it was, at once commanded attention, and said:
"Gentlemen, our levity is ill-advised. This boy is as truthful as he is
brave. As he looks at it, he has been guilty of an untruth." Then
turning to Fred, he took him gently by the hand, and said: "Your action
is but a fitting testimonial to your truthful nature. But be comforted.
What you have done, instead of being wrong, was an act of the greatest
heroism, and you deserve and will receive the thanks of every Union
man."

"Do you think so?" asked Fred, faintly.

"I know so, and not only this, but your action may save hundreds of
lives and our city from destruction. Let the good that you have done
atone for the deception you practiced towards Captain Conway."

Fred felt relieved. Then he was told he must have some rest after his
terrible ride and the exciting events of the night. He was ushered into
a darkened chamber, and not until after he had lain down, and the
excitement under which he had labored began to pass away did he realize
how utterly exhausted he was. Tired nature soon asserted itself, and he
slept the peaceful sleep of the young.

When Fred awoke, the house was very still. He looked at his watch, and
to his surprise found it was after ten o'clock. Hurriedly dressing, he
went downstairs, where he met Mrs. Spear, and when he apologized for
sleeping so late, she told him she had orders not to awake him, but to
let him sleep as long as he would. "But come," she said, "you must be
nearly famished," and she led him into the dining-room where a tempting
meal was spread.

What puzzled Fred was, that although it was so near midday, the house
was darkened and the gas burning. Every shutter was closed tight. Mrs.
Spear appeared nervous and excited, and the servants looked as though
frightened out of their wits. Although everything was so still in the
house, from out-of-doors there arose a confused noise as of the tramping
of many feet, the mingling of many voices, and now and then the sound of
wild cheering as of an excited mob. Fred looked inquiringly at Mrs.
Spear. She smiled sadly and said:

"This promises to be a terrible day for Louisville. But for the
forbearance of the Union men, there would have been bloody fighting
before this. The news of the Confederate victory in Virginia has crazed
the rebel element. It is thought an effort will be made to overthrow the
city government. If there is, there will be bloody work, for the Union
element is prepared. Companies of men are in readiness all over the city
to spring to arms at a moment's notice. I fear for my husband, I fear
for all of our lives, for Mr. Spear is a marked Union man." She stopped,
choked back a sob, and drawing herself proudly up, continued with
flashing eyes: "But Louisville will be saved, if husband, house and
everything go."

Of such metal were the loyal women of Kentucky. Fred hastily swallowed a
cup of coffee, ate enough to appease his hunger, and announced his
intention of going out on the street.

"You must not," said Mrs. Spear; "my husband left special word for you
to remain indoors. There is danger out."

Fred smiled. "That is just the reason I shall go out," he answered,
quietly.

"Then, if you must go," replied Mrs. Spear, "here is a weapon," and she
handed him a superb revolver. "You may need it, but do not use it except
to protect your own life, or the life of a Union man. This is the order
given to all loyal citizens. Do nothing to provoke a quarrel; keep
silent even if insulted, but if a conflict comes, protect yourself."

Fred thanked her, promised to be careful, and went forth into the city.
Through the principal streets, vast throngs were sweeping, acting as if
bereft of reason. Everywhere the Confederate flag was waving. Union
flags were being trailed in the dust and stamped in the mire. Cries for
Jeff Davis, and groans for Lincoln were heard on every hand.

As time went on, the mob grew more violent. "Down with the Yankees!"
"Kill the nigger-stealers!" "Kentucky is no abolition State!" "Death to
the Lincoln hirelings!" were the cries which echoed and re-echoed
through the streets. Soon stories of outrages, of private grounds being
entered and flags torn down, of brutal beatings began to be heard. The
Unionists began to gather in knots and resent insult. Yet each side
seemed to dread the beginning of a real conflict.

Chief among those exciting the people was Tompkins, the head of the
"Knights of the Golden Circle." He raged through the streets, defying
all authority. Fred looked on the growing excitement with the blood
swiftly coursing through his veins. His eyes blazed with fury when he
saw the stars and stripes trailed in the dust of the street. He trembled
with suppressed rage when he saw Union men reviled, insulted.

"It is true," he said, bitterly, to himself, "that Union men are
cowards, miserable cowards, or they would resent these insults." But
Fred was mistaken; braver men never lived than the Union men of
Louisville, who endured the taunts and insults of that day, rather than
provoke a conflict, the end of which no man could tell.

After a time Fred found himself on a residence street where there was a
break in the mob, and the street was comparatively quiet. During this
quiet a young lady came out of a house, and hurriedly passed down the
street. Suddenly a fragment of the mob drifted through the street, and
she was caught in the vortex. On her bosom was pinned a small Union
flag. A burly ruffian in the mob espied it, and rushing up to her,
shouted: "Off with that dirty rag, you she-Lincolnite!"

"Never," she exclaimed, with a pale face but flashing eye.

"Then I will take it," he exclaimed, with a coarse oath, and snatched at
the flag so roughly as to tear her dress, exposing her pure white bosom
to the gaze of the brutal mob.

There was a howl of delight, and the wretch made bolder, cried: "Now for
a kiss, my beauty," and attempted to catch her in his smutty arms. But
the avenger was at hand. Fred had seen the outrage, and picking up a
brick that happened to lie loose on the pavement, he sprang forward and
dealt the ruffian such a blow on the side of the head that he fell like
a log, striking the pavement with such force that the blood gushed from
his nose and mouth.

[Illustration: He dealt the Ruffian such a Blow that he fell like a
log.]

"Kill the young devil of a Lincolnite!" was the cry, and the crowd
surged towards Fred. But those in advance drew back, for they looked
into the muzzle of a revolver held by a hand that did not tremble, and
gazed into young eyes that did not waver.

"The first man that attempts to touch her or me, dies," said Fred, in a
clear, firm voice. The mob shrank back; then a fierce cry arose of "Kill
him! kill him!"

"Take the young lady to a place of safety," said a low voice by Fred's
side; then to the mob, "Back! back! or come on at your peril."

Fred looked, and by his side stood a stalwart policeman, a glistening
revolver in his hand. Near him stood other determined men, ready to
assist.

"Come," said Fred, taking the young lady's arm, and the two quickly made
their way out of the mob, which, balked of its prey, howled in futile
rage.

"I live here," said the young lady, stopping before a palatial
residence. "My name is Mabel Vaughn. You must come in and let my mother
thank you. How brave you were, and Policeman Green, too. How can I thank
you both enough for what you did!"

"You must excuse me now," replied Fred, politely raising his hat; "but
to-morrow, if possible, I will call, and see if you have experienced any
ill effects from the rough treatment you have received. But I must go
now, for I may be of some further use," and with a bow, Fred was gone.

"If he were only older, I would have a mind to throw Bob overboard,"
said the young lady to herself, as she entered the house.

Going back to the scene of his adventure, Fred found that a great crowd
had gathered around the place where he had knocked the ruffian down.

"What is this?" yelled Tompkins, coming up at the head of a multitude of
followers.

"Shure," cried an Irish voice, "Big Jim is kilt intoirely, intoirely."

"Who did it?" demanded Tompkins, with an oath. No one knew. By this time
Big Jim, with the aid of two companions, had staggered to his feet, and
was looking around in a dazed condition.

"He will come around all right," said Tompkins. "To the City Hall, boys.
Down with the rag floating there! Down with the city officials; let's
throw them into the Ohio," and with frightful cries, the mob started for
the city hall.

But the brave, loyal policeman, G. A. Green, the one who had assisted
Fred, was before them. "Stop," he cried, "the first man who tries to
enter this building dies."

With a curse, Tompkins rushed on with the cry, "Down with the
Lincolnites!"

There was the sharp crack of a revolver, and Tompkins staggered and fell
dead. His followers stood dumfounded. Before they could rally there
stood around the brave policeman a company of armed men. This was not
all; as if by magic, armed Home Guards appeared everywhere. The mob
stood amazed. Then a prominent officer of the Home Guard came forward
and said:

"We do not wish to shed more blood, but the first blow struck at the
city government, and these streets will run red with the blood of
Secessionists. We are fully prepared."

Cowed, muttering, cursing, the mob began to melt away. The crisis was
passed. The sun went down on one of the most exciting days Louisville
ever saw--a day that those who were there will never forget.

The city was saved to the Union, and never afterward was it in grave
danger.



CHAPTER IV.

THE TRIP TO NASHVILLE.


"Quite an adventure," said Mrs. Spear, to whom Fred had been relating
his experience. "I am proud of you. Why, you are a regular hero."

"Hardly that," replied Fred, blushing.

"I am so glad it has ended well," continued Mrs. Spear; "you ran a
terrible danger, and I should never have forgiven myself for letting you
go out, if any evil had befallen you."

"I should never have forgiven myself if I had not been there to protect
that brave young lady," answered Fred, firmly.

"Of course, a true knight must protect a fair lady," said Mrs. Spear.
"And you were fortunate, Sir Knight, for Mabel Vaughn is one of the
fairest of Louisville's daughters. It was just like her to brave any
danger rather than conceal her colors. She is loyal to the core."

"She seems to be a very nice young lady," replied Fred, "and she is
extremely pretty, too."

"What a pity you are not older," said Mrs. Spear, "so you could fall in
love with each other and get married, just as they do in well-regulated
novels."

"How do you know that I am not in love with her now?" answered Fred, his
eyes sparkling with merriment; "and as for my youth, I will grow."

"Oh! in that case, I am really sorry," replied Mrs. Spear, "for I think
she is spoken for."

Fred assumed a tragic air, and said in bloodcurdling tones: "Where was
the recreant lover that he did not protect her? Never shall my good
sword rest until it drinks his craven blood."

Mrs. Spear laughed until she cried. "You will call on your lady love
before you return?" she queried.

"Most assuredly, and it must be an early morning call, for I leave for
home at ten o'clock."

The warmth of welcome given Fred by the Vaughns surprised him, and, to
his astonishment, he found himself a hero in their eyes.

Miss Mabel Vaughn was a most charming young lady of eighteen, and when
she grasped Fred's hand, and, with tears in her eyes, poured out her
thanks, he felt a curious sensation about his heart, and as he looked
into her beautiful face, he could not help echoing the wish of Mrs.
Spear, "Oh, that I were older."

But this fancy received a rude shock when a fine looking young man,
introduced as Mr. Robert Marsden, grasped his hand, and thanked him for
what he had done for his betrothed.

"And to think," said Marsden, "that Mabel was in danger, and that you,
instead of me, protected her, makes me insanely envious of you."

"As for that, Bob," archly said Miss Mabel, "I am glad you were not
there. I dare say Mr. Shackelford did far better than you would have
done."

Marsden flushed and said nothing. Seeing he looked hurt, Miss Vaughn
continued: "I mean you would have been so rash you might have been
killed."

"Which would have been far worse than if I had been killed," said Fred,
meekly.

"Oh! I didn't mean that, I didn't mean that!" cried Miss Vaughn,
bursting into tears.

"Which means I ought to be kicked for uttering a silly joke," answered
Fred, greatly distressed. "Please, Miss Vaughn, let us change the
subject. How did you happen to be on the street?"

"I had been calling on a sick friend a few doors away, and I thought I
could reach home in safety during the few moments of quiet. My friend
wanted me to remove the little flag from the bosom of my dress before I
ventured out, but I refused, saying, 'I would never conceal my colors,'
and I was caught in the mob, as you saw."

"And I shall consider it the happiest day of my life I was there,"
gallantly answered Fred. "And we must not forget the brave policeman."

"That I will not," replied Miss Vaughn.

"There is one good thing it has brought about, anyway," said Marsden.
"Mabel has at length consented that I shall enter the army. She would
never give her consent before. I shall wear this little flag that she
wore yesterday on my breast, and it will ever be an incentive to deeds
of glory, and it shall never be disgraced," and the young man's eyes
kindled as he said it.

"Oh! Robert, if you should be killed!" and the girl sobbed piteously.
Had a shadow of the future floated before her? Months afterward that
little flag was returned to her bloodstained and torn.

"Come, come!" said Mrs. Vaughn, "this will never do, rather let us
rejoice that we are all alive and happy this morning. Mabel, give us
some music."

Two or three lively airs dispelled all the clouds, and Fred took his
leave with the promise that he would never come to Louisville without
calling.

Fred's return to Nicholasville was without adventure. He wondered what
had become of Captain Conway, and laughed when he imagined the meeting
between the captain and Major Hockoday. He found Prince none the worse
for his fast riding, and jumping gaily on his back, started for home,
returning by way of Camp Dick Robinson. Here he met Lieutenant Nelson,
who warmly grasped his hand, and thanked him for his services in
delivering his message.

"But," continued Nelson, "I have heard rumors of your performing a still
more important part, and securing papers of the greatest value to us.
Tell me about it."

When Fred related his meeting with Major Hockoday and Morgan, and how
he had wrung the dispatch from Captain Conway, Nelson nearly went into
an apoplectic fit from laughter. Then he stood up and looked at the boy
admiringly.

"Fred," he said, "you have done what one man in a hundred thousand could
not have done. The government shall know of this. Not only this; but if
you will enter my service, not as a spy, but as a special messenger and
scout, I will see that you are enrolled as such with good pay."

Fred shook his head. "You must remember, sir, I am but a boy still under
the control of my father. I accepted the mission from you, which I did,
on the impulse of the moment; and I fear when I return home, I shall
find my father very much offended."

"Is your father a Union man?" asked Nelson.

"I do not know. My mother died but a few weeks ago, and since her death
father has taken no interest in the events going on around him. I have
never heard him express any opinion since the war really began. Before
that he was in hopes it could be settled peaceably."

"Well, my boy, whatever happens, remember you have a friend in me. Not
only this, but if you can arrange it amicably with your father, I may
call on you, if at any time I have a very delicate mission I wish to
have performed."

Fred thanked him, and rode on to his home. He found his father in very
earnest conversation with his uncle, Judge Pennington, and Colonel
Humphrey Marshall, a well-known Kentuckian. The trio were earnestly
discussing the war, Judge Pennington and Colonel Marshall trying to
convince Mr. Shackelford that it was his duty to come out boldly for the
South, instead of occupying his position of indifference.

When Mr. Shackelford saw Fred, he excused himself a moment, and calling
him, said: "Where in the world have you been, Fred? I thought you were
with your Cousin Calhoun, and therefore borrowed no trouble on account
of your absence. But when your uncle came a few moments ago, and
informed me you had not been there for three days, I became greatly
alarmed, and as soon as I could dismiss my visitors I was going to
institute a search for you."

"I am all right, father," answered Fred. "I have been to Louisville. I
will tell you all about it when you are at leisure."

"Very well," replied Mr. Shackelford, and went back and resumed the
conversation with his guests.

In the evening, when father and son were alone, Fred told where he had
been, and who sent him. Mr. Shackelford looked grave, and said:

"Fred, this is a bad business. Since the death of your mother, I have
taken but little interest in passing events. I have just awakened to the
fact that there is a great war in progress."

"Yes, father," said Fred in a low tone, "war on the old flag. Which side
should one be on?"

Mr. Shackelford did not answer for a moment, and then he said, with a
troubled countenance: "I had almost as soon lose my right arm as to
raise it against the flag for which my fathers fought. On the other
side, how can I, a man Southern born, raise my hand against my kindred?
Kentucky is a sovereign State; as such she has resolved to be neutral.
The South is observing this neutrality, the North is not. Even now the
Federal government is raising and arming troops right in our midst. This
Lieutenant Nelson, to whom you have rendered such valuable services, is
foremost in this defiance of the wishes of Kentucky. The raising and
arming of Federal troops must be stopped, or the whole State will be in
the throes of a fratricidal strife. Your uncle and Colonel Marshall are
for Kentucky's seceding and joining the South. For this I am not
prepared, for it would make the State the battleground of the contending
armies. But the neutrality of Kentucky must be respected. Let me hear no
more of your aiding Nelson, or you are no son of mine."

"Father, you say Kentucky is a sovereign State. Is it right then for
those who favor the South to try and force Kentucky into the Southern
Confederacy against the will of a majority of her people?"

Mr. Shackelford hesitated, and then said: "As much right as the
Unionists have to force her to stay in. But I do not ask you to aid the
South, neither must you aid Nelson."

Mr. Shackelford drew a deep sigh, and then continued: "Your mother
being a Northern woman, I suppose you have imbibed some of her peculiar
ideas. This war is a terrible thing, Fred. Oh, God! why must the two
sections fight?" And he turned away to hide his feelings.

Under the circumstances, Fred thought it best not to say anything about
his adventure with Captain Conway, or what happened in Louisville. But
he readily promised his father he would do nothing to aid either side
without consulting him.

"Now, Fred," said Mr. Shackelford, "this business being settled, I have
another matter I wish to talk about. My business is in such shape it is
of the utmost importance that I get some papers to your Uncle Charles in
Nashville for him to sign. Mail, you know, is now prohibited between the
two sections. To travel between the two States is becoming nearly
impossible. It will soon become entirely so. Even now, the journey may
be attended with great danger; and I would not think of asking you if it
was not so important for your Uncle Charles to sign the papers. But as
much as I would like to have you make the journey, I shall not command
you, but let you exercise your own pleasure."

"Just the thing!" shouted Fred, his boyish enthusiasm and love of
adventure aroused. "I shall enjoy it. You know a spice of danger adds
enjoyment to one's journey."

"Well," said his father, "it is all settled, then, but be very careful,
for they tell me the whole country is in a state of fearful ferment.
One thing more, Fred; if you have any Union sentiment, suppress it
entirely while you are gone. It will not do in Middle Tennessee; there
are no Union men there."

The next morning, after kissing his little sister good-bye, and
promising his father to be very careful, Fred started on his journey.
Nashville was about one hundred and sixty miles away, and he calculated
he could reach it in three days. From Danville he took the main road to
Liberty, thence to Columbia, where he stopped for the night. His next
day's ride took him to Glasgow, then south to Scottsville. He found the
whole country in a state of the greatest excitement; and passed numerous
companies of Kentuckians going south to join the Confederate army. After
leaving Columbia, he saw nothing but the Confederate flag displayed. If
there were any Unionists, they did not let the fact be known.

Just over on the Tennessee side, as he passed into that State, was a
large encampment of Confederate troops; and Fred was repeatedly asked to
enlist, while many a covetous eye was cast on his horse. It was
afternoon before he reached Gallatin, where he stopped for refreshments
for himself and horse.

He found the little city a perfect hotbed of excitement. The people were
still rejoicing over the victory at Bull Run, and looking every day for
Washington to fall. To them the war was nearly over, and there was joy
on every countenance. When it became known at the hotel that Fred was
from Kentucky, he was surrounded by an eager crowd to learn the news
from that State.

In reply to his eager questioners, Fred said:

"Gentlemen, I do not know that I can give you anything new. You know
that Kentucky has voted to remain neutral, but that does not prevent our
people from being pretty evenly divided. Many of our most prominent men
are advocating the cause of the South, but as yet they have failed to
overcome the Union sentiment. The day after the battle of Bull Run there
was a riot in Louisville, and it was thought that the friends of the
South might be able to seize the city government, but the movement
failed."

"Where did you say you were from?" asked one of the bystanders.

"From Danville," answered Fred.

"You are all right in that section of the country, are you not?"

"On the contrary," replied Fred, "a Lieutenant Nelson has organized a
camp at Dick Robinson, but a few miles from where I live, and is engaged
in raising ten regiments of Kentucky troops for the Federal army."

The news was astounding, and a murmur of surprise ran through the crowd,
which became a burst of indignation, and a big red-faced man shouted:

"It's a lie, youngster; Kentuckians are not all cowards and
Abolitionists. You are nothing but a Lincolnite in disguise. Hang him,
boys! hang him!"

"You are right," said Fred, advancing on the man, "when you say all
Kentuckians are not cowards. Some of them still have courage to resent
an insult, especially when it is offered by a cur," and he dealt the man
a blow across the face with his riding-whip with such force as to leave
an angry, red mark.

The man howled with pain and rage, and attempted to draw a revolver, but
stout hands laid hold of him, and he was dragged blaspheming away.

Meanwhile it looked as if there might be a riot. Some were hurrahing for
the boy; others were shaking their heads and demanding that Fred further
give an account of himself. He had been called a Lincolnite, and that
was enough to damn him in the eyes of many.

"What is all this fuss about?" cried a commanding looking young man,
dressed in the uniform of a lieutenant of the Confederate army, pushing
his way through the crowd.

"Oh, this hyear young feller struck Bill Pearson across the face with
his ridin'-whip for callin' him a Lincolnite and a liah," volunteered a
seedy, lank looking individual.

"Which seems full enough provocation for a blow. Bill is fortunate he
hasn't got a hole through him," responded the young lieutenant.

"But maybe he is a Lincolnite," persisted the seedy individual. "He
said Kentuck wouldn't 'cede, and that they was raisin' sogers to help
whip we 'uns."

"How is it, my boy?" asked the lieutenant, turning to Fred. "Who are
you, and where did you come from?"

Fred explained what had happened; how he had been asked for news from
Kentucky, and that he had told them only the truth. He then gave his
name, and said he was on his way to Nashville to visit his uncle,
Charles Shackelford.

"Fellow-citizens," said the young officer in a voice that at once
commanded attention, "this young man informs me that he is a nephew of
Major Charles Shackelford of Nashville, who is now engaged in raising a
regiment for the Confederate service. No nephew of his can be a
Lincolnite. (Here Fred winced.) As for the news he told, unfortunately
it's true. Kentucky, although thousands of her gallant sons have joined
us, still clings to her neutrality, or is openly hostile to us. It is
true, that a renegade Kentuckian by the name of Nelson is enlisting
troops for the Yankees right in the heart of Kentucky. But I believe,
almost know, the day is not distant, when the brave men of Kentucky who
are true to their traditions and the South will arise in their might,
and place Kentucky where she belongs, as one of the brightest stars in
the galaxy of Confederate States. In your name, fellow-citizens, I want
to apologize to this gallant young Kentuckian for the insult offered
him."

The young lieutenant ceased speaking, but as with one voice, the
multitude began to cry, "Go on! go on! A speech, Bailie, a speech!"

Thus abjured, Lieutenant Bailie Peyton, for it was he, mounted a
dry-goods box, and for half an hour poured forth such a torrent of
eloquence that he swayed the vast audience, which had gathered, as the
leaves of the forest are swayed by the winds of heaven.

He first spoke of the glorious Southland; her sunny skies, her sweeping
rivers, her brave people. He pictured to them the home of their
childhood, the old plantation, where slept in peaceful graves the loved
ones gone before.

Strong men stood with tears running down their cheeks; women sobbed
convulsively. "Is there one present that will not die for such a land?"
he cried in a voice as clear as a trumpet, and there went up a mighty
shout of "No, not one!"

He then spoke of the North; how the South would fain live in peace with
her, but had been spurned, reviled, traduced. Faces began to darken,
hands to clench. Then the speaker launched into a terrific philippic
against the North. He told of its strength, its arrogance, its
insolence. Lincoln was now marshaling his hireling hosts to invade their
country, to devastate their land, to desecrate their homes, to let loose
their slaves, to ravish and burn. "Are we men," he cried, "and refuse
to protect our homes, our wives, our mothers, our sisters!"

The effect was indescribable. Men wept and cried like children, then
raved and yelled like madmen. With clenched hands raised towards heaven,
they swore no Yankee invader would ever leave the South alive. Women,
with hysterical cries, beseeched their loved ones to enlist. They
denounced as cowards those who refused. The recruiting officers present
reaped a rich harvest. As for Fred, he stood as one in a trance. Like
the others, he had been carried along, as on a mighty river, by the
fiery stream of eloquence he had heard. He saw the Southland invaded by
a mighty host, leaving wreck and ruin in its wake. He heard helpless
women praying to be delivered from the lust of brutal slaves, and
raising his hand to heaven he swore that such things should never be.

Then came the reaction. His breast was torn with conflicting emotions,
he knew not what to think. In a daze he sought his horse. A pleasant
voice sounded in his ear.

"I think you told me you were going to Nashville." It was Bailie Peyton
who spoke.

"Yes, sir."

"It is getting late. Will you not go with me to my father's and stay all
night, and I will ride with you to Nashville in the morning?"

Fred readily consented, for he was weary, and he also wanted to see more
of this wonderful young orator.

Colonel Peyton, the father of Bailie Peyton, resided some three miles
out of Gallatin on the Nashville pike, and was one of the distinguished
men of Tennessee. He opposed secession to the last, and when the State
seceded he retired to his plantation, and all during the war was a
non-combatant. So grand was his character, such confidence did both
sides have in his integrity, that he was honored and trusted by both. He
never faltered in his love for the Union, yet did everything possible to
save his friends and neighbors from the wrath of the Federal
authorities. It was common report that more than once he saved Gallatin
from being burned to the ground for its many acts of hostility to the
Union forces. War laid a heavy hand on Colonel Peyton; and his son the
apple of his eye was brought home a corpse. Even then Colonel Peyton did
not complain. He bound up his broken heart, and did what he could to
soothe others who had been stricken the same as he.

Fred was given a genuine Southern welcome at the hospitable mansion of
Colonel Peyton. As for Bailie, the younger members of the household went
wild over him, even the servants wore a happier smile now "dat Massa
Bailie had cum."

After supper the family assembled on the old-fashioned porch to enjoy
the cool evening air, and the conversation, as all conversations were in
those days, was on the war. Bailie was overflowing with the exuberance
of his spirits. He believed that the victory at Bull Run was the
beginning of the end, that Washington was destined to fall, and that
President Davis would dictate peace from that city. He saw arise before
him a great nation, the admiration of the whole world; and as he spoke
of the glory that would come to the South, his whole soul seemed to
light up his countenance.

Throughout Bailie's discourse, Colonel Peyton sat silent and listened.
Sometimes a sad smile would come over his features at some of his son's
witty sallies or extravagant expressions.

Bailie seeing his father' dejection, turned to him and said:

"Cheer up, father; I shall soon be back in Nashville practicing my
profession, the war over; and in the greatness and grandeur of the South
you will forget your love for the old Union."

The colonel shook his head, and turning to Fred, began to ask him
questions concerning Kentucky and the situation there. Fred answered him
truthfully and fully to the best of his knowledge. Colonel Peyton then
said to his son:

"Bailie, you know how dear you are to me, and how much I regret the
course you are taking; yet I will not chide you, for it is but natural
for you to go with the people you love. It is not only you, it is the
entire South that has made a terrible mistake. That the South had
grievances, we all know; but secession was not the cure. Bailie, you are
mistaken about the war being nearly over; it has hardly begun. If
Beauregard ever had a chance to capture Washington, that chance is now
lost by his tardiness. The North has men and money; it will spare
neither. You have heard what this young man has said about Kentucky. He
has told the truth. The State is hopelessly divided. Neither side will
keep up the farce of neutrality longer than it thinks it an advantage to
do so. When the time comes, the Federal armies will sweep through
Kentucky and invade Tennessee. Their banners will be seen waving along
this road; Nashville will fall."

"What!" cried Bailie, springing to his feet, "Nashville in the hands of
the Lincolnites. Never! May I die before I see the accursed flag of the
North waving over the proud capitol of my beloved Tennessee."

He looked like a young god, as he stood there, proud, defiant, his eye
flashing, his breast heaving with emotion.

His father gazed on him a moment in silence. A look of pride, love,
tenderness, passed over his face; then his eyes filled with tears, and
he turned away trembling with emotion. Had he a dim realization that the
prayer of his son would be granted, and that he would not live to see
the Union flag floating over Nashville?

That night Frederic Shackelford knelt by his bedside with a trembling
heart. Bailie Peyton's speech, his enthusiasm, his earnestness had had a
powerful influence on him. After all, was the North wrong? Was the South
fighting, as Bailie claimed, for one of the holiest causes for which a
patriotic people ever combated; and that their homes, the honor of their
wives and daughters were at stake?

"Oh, Lord, show me the right way!" was Fred's prayer.

Then there came to him, as if whispered in his ear by the sweetest of
voices, the words of his mother, "_God will never permit a nation to be
founded whose chief corner-stone is human slavery._" He arose, strong,
comforted; the way was clear; there would be no more doubt.

The next morning the young men journeyed to Nashville together. On the
way Bailie poured out his whole soul to his young companion. He saw
nothing in the future but success. In no possible way could the North
subjugate the South. But the silver tones no longer influenced Fred;
there was no more wavering in his heart. But he ever said that Bailie
Peyton was one of the most fascinating young men he ever met, and that
the remembrance of that ride was one of the sweetest of his life.

When a few months afterward, he wept over Peyton's lifeless body
stretched on the battlefield, he breathed a prayer for the noble soul
that had gone so early to its Creator.

Fred found Nashville a seething sea of excitement. Nothing was thought
of, talked of, but the war. There was no thought of the hardships, the
suffering, the agony, the death that it would bring--nothing but vain
boasting, and how soon the North would get enough of it. The people
acted as though they were about to engage in the festivities of some
gala day, instead of one of the most gigantic wars of modern times. It
was the case of not one, but of a whole people gone mad.

Although Fred's uncle and family were greatly surprised to see him, he
was received with open arms. Mr. Shackelford was busily engaged in
raising a regiment for the Confederate service, and as Bailie Peyton had
said, had been commissioned as major. Fred's cousin, George Shackelford,
although but two years older than he, was to be adjutant, and Fred found
the young man a little too conceited for comfort.

Not so with his cousin Kate, a most beautiful girl the same age as
himself, and they were soon the closest of friends. But Kate was a
terrible fire-eater. She fretted and pouted because Fred would not abuse
the Yankees with the same vehemence that she did.

"What if they should come here?" asked Fred.

"Come here!" echoed Kate, with the utmost scorn. "We women would turn
out and beat them back with broomsticks."

Fred laughed, and then little Bess came toddling up to him, with "Tousin
Fed, do 'ankees eat 'ittle girls?"

"Bless you, Bessie, I am afraid they would eat you, you are so sweet,"
cried Fred, catching her in his arms and covering her face with kisses.

"No danger," tartly responded Kate; "they will never reach here to get
a chance."

"Don't be too sure, my pretty cousin; I may yet live to see you flirting
with a Yankee officer."

"You will see me dead first," answered Kate, with flashing eye.

It was a very pleasant visit that Fred had, and he was sorry when the
four days, the limit of his visit, were up. The papers that he had
brought were all signed, and in addition he took numerous letters and
messages back with him.

When leaving, his uncle handed him a pass signed by the Governor of the
State.

"There will be no getting through our lines into Kentucky without this,"
said his uncle. "Tennessee is like a rat-trap; it is much easier to get
in than to get out."

Fred met with no adventure going back, until he approached the Kentucky
line south of Scottsville. Here he found the road strongly guarded by
soldiers.

"Where are you going?" asked the officer in charge.

"To my home near Danville, Kentucky," answered Fred.

"No, you don't," said the officer; "we have orders to let no one pass."

"But I have permission from the Governor," replied Fred, handing out his
pass.

The officer looked at it carefully, then looked Fred over, for he was
fully described in the document, and handed it back with, "I reckon
it's all right; you can go." And Fred was about to ride on, when a man
came running up with a fearful oath, and shouting: "That's you, is it,
my fine gentleman? Now you will settle with Bill Pearson for striking
him like a nigger!" and there stood the man he had struck at Gallatin,
with the fiery red mark still showing across his face.

As quick as a flash Fred snatched a revolver from the holster. "Up with
your hands," said he coolly but firmly. Pearson was taken by surprise,
and his hands went slowly up. The officer looked from one to the other,
and then asked what it meant.

[Illustration: As quick as a flash Fred snatched a Revolver from the
holster.]

Bill, in a whining tone, told him how on the day he had enlisted, Fred
had struck him "just like a nigger." Fred, in a few words, told his side
of the story.

"And Bailie Peyton said ye were all right, and Bill here called ye a
coward and a liah?" asked the officer.

"Yes, sir."

"Well, Bill, I reckon you got what you deserved. Let the gentleman
pass."

With a muttered curse, Pearson fell back, and Fred rode on, but had gone
but a few yards when there was the sharp report of a pistol, and a ball
cut through his hat rim. He looked back just in time to see Bill Pearson
felled like an ox by a blow from the butt of a revolver in the hands of
the angry officer.

Once in Kentucky Fred breathed freer, but he was stopped several times
and closely questioned, and once or twice the fleetness of his horse
saved him from unpleasant companions. It was with a glad heart that he
found himself once more at home.



CHAPTER V.

FATHER AND SON.


Fred's journey to Nashville and back had consumed eleven days. It was
now August, a month of intense excitement throughout Kentucky. It was a
month of plot and counterplot. The great question as to whether Kentucky
would be Union or Confederate trembled in the balance. Fred found
conditions changed. Those who had been neutral were becoming outspoken
for one side or the other. Thus it was with Mr. Shackelford. He was fast
becoming a partisan of the South. Letters which Fred brought him from
his brother in Nashville confirmed him in his opinion. In these letters
his brother begged him not to disgrace the name of Shackelford by siding
with the Lincolnites.

He heard from Fred a full account of his journey, commended him for his
bravery, and said that he did what every true Kentuckian should do,
resent an insult; but he should not have sent him had he known he would
have been exposed to such grave dangers.

"Now, Fred," he continued; "you and your horse need rest. Do not leave
home for a few days."

To this Fred readily assented. His cousin Calhoun came to see him, and
when he told him how he had served the fellow in Gallatin who called him
a liar, Calhoun's enthusiasm knew no bounds. He jumped up and down and
yelled, and clapped Fred on the back, and called him a true Kentuckian,
even if he didn't favor the South.

"It seems to me, Fred, you are having all the fun, while I am staying
here humdrumming around home. I can't stand it much longer."

"It isn't all fun, Cal. I might have been killed. Look at that hole
through my hat."

"That's what I envy, Fred; I must be a soldier. I long to hear the
singing of bullets, the wild cheering of men, to be in the headlong
charge," and the boy's face glowed with enthusiasm.

"I reckon, Cal, you will get there, if this racket keeps up much
longer," answered Fred.

"Speed the day," shouted Cal, as he jumped on his horse and rode away,
waving back a farewell.

During these days, Fred noticed that quite a number of gentlemen, all
prominent Southern sympathizers, called on his father. It seemed to him
that his father was drifting away, and that a great gulf was growing
between them; and he resolved to open his whole heart and tell his
father just how he felt. The opportunity came sooner than he expected.

One evening his uncle, Judge Pennington, came out from Danville,
accompanied by no less distinguished gentlemen than John C.
Breckinridge, Humphrey Marshall, John A. Morgan and Major Hockoday.
Breckinridge was the idol of Kentucky, a knightly man in every respect.

They had come to discuss the situation with Mr. Shackelford. Ten
thousand rifles had been shipped to Cincinnati, to be forwarded to Camp
Dick Robinson, for the purpose of arming the troops there; and the
question was should they allow these arms to be sent. The consultation
was held in the room directly below the one Fred occupied, and through a
friendly ventilator he heard the whole conversation.

Morgan and Major Hockoday were for calling out the State Guards,
capturing Camp Dick Robinson, then march on Frankfort, drive out the
Legislature, and declare the State out of the Union.

This was vigorously opposed by Breckinridge. "You must remember," said
he, "that State sovereignty is the underlying principle of the Southern
Confederacy. If the States are not sovereign, the South had no right to
secede, and every man in arms against the Federal government is a
traitor. Kentucky, by more than a two-thirds vote, declined to go out of
the Union. But she has declared for neutrality; let us see that
neutrality is enforced."

"Breckinridge," said Morgan, "your logic is good, but your position is
weak. What about those arms?"

"Their shipment in the State would be a violation of our neutrality; the
whole power of the State should be used to prevent it," answered
Breckinridge.

"Oh! that General Buckner were here!" exclaimed Major Hockoday. "Now
that he is gone, the State Guard is virtually without a head."

"Where is General Buckner?" asked Mr. Shackelford.

"Hobnobbing with President Lincoln in Washington, or with President
Davis in Richmond, I don't know which," answered Marshall, with a laugh.

"Oh! Buckner is all right," responded Breckinridge; "but he ought to be
here now."

It was finally agreed that a meeting should be called at Georgetown, in
Scott county, on the 17th, at which meeting decisive steps should be
taken to prevent the shipment of the arms.

All of this Fred heard, and then, to his consternation, he heard his
father say:

"Gentlemen, before you go, I want to introduce my son to you. I am
afraid he is a little inclined to be for the Union, and I think a
meeting with you gentlemen may serve to make him see things in a
different light."

So Fred was called, and nerving himself for the interview, he went down.
As he entered the room, Major Hockoday stared at him a moment in
surprise, and then exclaimed:

"Great God! Shackelford, that is not your son; that is the young villain
who stole my dispatch from Conway!"

"The very same," said Fred, smiling. "How do you do, Major; I am glad to
see you looking so well. I see that the loss of that dispatch didn't
worry you so much as to make you sick."

"W-h-y why!" stammered the major, choking with rage, "you--you impudent
young----" here the major did choke. He could say no more.

Fred rather enjoyed it, and he continued: "And how is my friend Captain
Conway? I trust that he was not injured in his hurried exit from the
cars the other night."

All the rest of the company looked nonplused, but Morgan, who roared
with laughter.

"What does this mean?" sternly asked Mr. Shackelford of Fred.

"It means," answered Fred, "that I got the major's dispatches away from
Captain Conway, and thus saved Louisville from a scene of bloodshed and
horror. And, Major, you should thank me, for your scheme would have
failed anyway. The Union men were too well prepared. I really saved any
number of your friends from being killed, and there you sit choking with
rage, instead of calling me a good boy."

"Leave the room, Fred," commanded Mr. Shackelford; "that you should
insult a guest here in my own house is more than I can imagine."

Bowing, Fred retired, and the company turned to Major Hockoday for an
explanation of the extraordinary scene. The major told the story and
ended with saying: "I am sorry, Shackelford, that he is your boy. If I
were you, I should get him out of the country as soon as possible; he
will make you trouble."

"I will settle with him, never fear," replied Mr. Shackelford, grimly.

"Look here, Major," spoke up Morgan; "you are sore because that boy
outwitted you, and he did you a good turn, as he said. If your program
had been carried out, Louisville would be occupied by Federal troops
to-day. Thank him because he pulled the wool over Conway's eyes. Ha! ha!
two old duffers fooled by a boy!" and Morgan enjoyed a hearty laugh, in
which all but Major Hockoday and Mr. Shackelford joined.

"And, Shackelford," continued Morgan, after he had enjoyed his laugh, "I
want you to let that boy alone; he is the smartest boy in Kentucky. I
want him with me when I organize my cavalry brigade."

"I am afraid, Morgan," said Breckinridge, "that you will be disappointed
in that, though I hope not for Mr. Shackelford's sake. The boy looks to
me as if he had a will of his own."

"Oh, he will come around all right," responded Morgan.

After making full arrangements for the meeting to be held in Scott
county on the 17th, the company dispersed.

Hours after they had gone Fred heard his father restlessly pacing the
floor.

"Poor father!" thought he, "like me, he cannot sleep. I wonder what he
will say to me in the morning; but come what may, I must and shall be
for the Union."

At the breakfast table Mr. Shackelford was silent until the close of the
meal, when he simply said, "Fred, I would like to see you in the
library."

Fred bowed, and replied, "I will be there in a few moments, father."

When Fred entered the library, his father was seated at the table
writing. There was a look of care on his face, and Fred was startled to
see how pale he was.

Pushing aside his writing, he sat for some moments looking at his son in
silence. At last he said:

"Fred, you can hardly realize how pained I was last night to hear what I
did. I would not have thought it of you. But the past is gone. You are
old enough to realize something of the desperate nature of the struggle
in which the two sections of the country are engaged. For the past two
weeks I have thought much of what was the right thing to do. I love my
country; I love and revere the old flag. As long as the slightest hope
remained of restoring it as it was, I was for the Union. But this is now
hopeless; too much blood has been shed. Neither would the South, if
granted her own terms, now go back to a Union she not only hates, but
loathes. The North has no lawful right to use coercion. Kentucky, in her
sovereign right as a State, has declared for neutrality; and it has been
contemptuously ignored by the North. Nelson, a man to be despised by
every patriot, has not only organized troops in our midst, but now seeks
to have the Federal government arm them. Such true men as Breckinridge,
Marshall, Buckner, Morgan, and a host of other loyal Kentuckians have
sworn that this shall never be. General Buckner is now in Washington. If
he ascertains that the Lincoln government will not respect the
neutrality of the State by withdrawing every Federal officer and
soldier, he is going to proceed to Richmond and offer his services to
the Confederate Government. Once accepted, he will immediately form the
State Guards into an army, and turn them over to the Confederacy.
Regiments must be formed, and I have been offered the colonelcy of one
of these regiments."

Fred was startled, and stammered, "You--father--you?"

"Yes, my son, why not? If your mother had lived, it would have been
different, but now I can go far better than many who have gone. I have
arranged all of my business. I shall place Belle in school in
Cincinnati. John Stimson, who has been our overseer for so many years,
will remain and conduct the plantation. My only trouble has been to
dispose of you satisfactorily. My wish is to send you to college, but
knowing your adventurous disposition, and how fond you are of exciting
and, I might add, desperate deeds, I am afraid you would do no good in
your studies."

"You are right, father," said Fred, in a low voice.

"This being the case," continued Mr. Shackelford, "I was going to offer
to take you with me in the army, not as an enlisted soldier, but rather
as company and aid to me. But from what I heard last night, I do not see
how this is possible, unless what you have done has been a mere boyish
freak, which I do not think."

"It was no freak," said Fred, with an unsteady voice.

"So I thought. Therefore, the only thing I can do is to send you
away--to Europe. What do you say, an English or a German university?"

"And you are really going into the Confederate army, father?"

"Yes, my son."

"And you want me to play the coward and flee my country in this her hour
of greatest peril? Oh, father!"

Mr. Shackelford looked astonished, and then a smile of joy passed over
his features; could it be that Fred was going with him?

"Not if you wish to go with me, my son."

Fred arose and tottered to his father, sank beside his knee, and looking
up with a tear-stained face, said in a pleading voice:

"Don't go into the Confederate army, father; don't turn against the old
flag." And the boy laid his head on his father's knee and sobbed as if
his heart would break.

Mr. Shackelford was deeply moved. He tried to speak, but a lump arose
in his throat and choked him; so he sat in silence smoothing the hair of
his son with his hand as gently as his mother would have done.

"What would mother say," at length sobbed the boy.

Mr. Shackelford shivered as with a chill; then said brokenly: "If your
mother had lived, child, my first duty would have been to her. Now it is
to my country. Neither would your mother, it mattered not what she
thought herself, ever have asked me to violate my own conscience."

"Father, let us both stay at home. We can do that, you thinking as you
do, and I thinking as I do. We can love each other just the same. We can
do good by comforting those who will be stricken; and mother will look
down from heaven, and bless us. We cannot control our sympathies, but we
can our actions. We can both be truly non-combatants."

"Don't, Fred, don't tempt me," gasped Mr. Shackelford. "My word is
given, and a Shackelford never breaks his word. Then I cannot stand idly
by, and see my kindred made slaves. I must draw my sword for the right,
and the South has the right. Fred, the die is cast. I go in the
Confederate army--you to Europe. So say no more."

Fred arose, his face as pale as death, but with a look so determined, so
fixed that it seemed as if in a moment the boy had been transformed into
a man.

"Father," he asked, "I have always been a good son, obeying you, and
never intentionally grieving you, have I not?"

"You have, Fred, been a good, obedient son, God bless you!"

"Just before mother died," continued Fred, "she called me to her
bedside. She told me how my great-grandfather had died on Bunker Hill,
and asked me to always be true to my country. She asked me to promise
never to raise my hand against the flag. I gave her the promise. You
would not have me break that promise, father?"

"No, no, my son! Go to Europe, stay there until the trouble is over."

"She said more, father. Listen, for I believe her words to be prophetic:
'God will never prosper a nation whose chief corner-stone is human
slavery.'"

"Stop, Fred, stop, I can't bear it. Your mother did not understand. This
war is not waged to perpetuate slavery; it is waged to preserve the
rights of the States guaranteed to them by the Constitution."

"Do not deceive yourself, father; slavery has everything to do with it.
No State would have thought of seceding if it had not been for slavery.
Slavery is the sole, the only cause of the war. It is a poor cause for
noble men to give up their lives."

"We will not argue the question," said Mr. Shackelford, pettishly; "you
will forget your foolishness in Europe."

"I shall not go to Europe."

"What!"

"I shall not go to Europe."

"Do you dare to disobey me?"

"I shall not only not go to Europe, but I shall enter the army."

"The army! the army! What army?" asked Mr. Shackelford, dismayed.

"The Union army."

The father staggered as if a knife had pierced his heart. He threw out
his hands wildly, and then pressed them to his breast and gasped: "Fred,
Fred, you don't mean it!"

"I was never more in earnest in my life."

Mr. Shackelford's feelings underwent a sudden change. His face became
purple with rage; love for his son was forgotten.

"Do that," he thundered, "do that, and you are no son of mine. I will
disown you, I will cast you out, I will curse you."

"Father," said Fred, in a low tremulous voice, "if part we must, do not
let us part in anger. Never have I loved you better than now; you do
what you believe to be right; I do what I believe to be right. We both
perform our duty as we see it. God will hold the one who blunders
blameless. Let us then part in peace."

Mr. Shackelford, with white, drawn face, pointed to the door, and
uttered the one word, "Go!"

"Oh, father, father, do not send me away with a curse. See, father,"
and he turned to his mother's portrait which hung on the wall, "mother
is looking down on us; mother, who loved us both so well. How can you
account to her that you have turned away her only son with a curse, and
for no crime, but the one of loving his country."

"Boy, boy, have you no mercy that you will not only break my heart, but
tear it out by the roots."

"I am the one who asks for mercy, who pleads that you send me not away
with a curse."

"Fred, for the sake of your mother, I will not curse you, but I will, if
you remain in my sight. Here," and he went to his safe, opened it, and
took out a package of money. "Here is $1,000, take it and Prince, and
begone. Go to that man, Nelson, who has seduced you. It is a heavy
account I have to settle with him. Go before I forget myself and curse
you."

For a moment Fred gazed in his father's face; there was no wrath,
nothing but love in his look. Then he took the money and said: "Father,
I thank you; I not only thank you, but bless you. May God protect you in
the midst of dangers. Not a day shall pass but I shall pray for your
safety. Good-bye, father."

He turned and went out.

Mr. Shackelford staggered towards the door. "Fred!" It was the cry of a
repentant soul. The boy's footstep echoed outside along the hall,
fainter and fainter.

The father groped blindly, as if about to fall.

"Fred, Fred, come back!"

The outer door closed; his boy was gone.

Mr. Shackelford staggered backward and groaned, as if in mortal agony.
Then his eye caught the portrait of his wife looking down on him.
Raising his arms beseechingly, he cried: "Oh, Laura! Laura! What have I
done? Don't look at me so; I didn't curse him. I would have called him
back. My boy! my boy! Oh, God! Oh, God!"

It was with a heavy heart that Fred left the house. As he shut the door,
he thought he heard his father call. He stopped and listened, but
hearing nothing, he went on. Getting his horse, he rode to Danville. His
little sister was visiting at Judge Pennington's, and he wanted to see
her, as well as to bid farewell to his uncle, and see Calhoun. He had no
idea but that his uncle would forbid him the house when he heard of his
being cast off by his father.

He found Judge Pennington at home, and frankly told him what had
happened, shielding his father as much as possible, and not sparing
himself.

The judge went into a fearful passion.

"Why, why, you young jackanapes," he roared; "it's a horse-whipping you
want, and you would get it if you were a boy of mine! Disowned you, did
he? And drove you away? Well, he is a fool, too. A good tanning is what
you need, and, by Jove! I have a mind to give it to you," and he shook
his cane threateningly. "Going to join the Yankee army, are you? Join
and be hanged, you idiot! A Shackelford in the Yankee army! I'll,
I'll--" but the judge was too angry to say more.

"Now, uncle, don't get in a rage; it's no use. My mind is fully made up.
I shall join the Union army in some capacity."

"Get out of my sight, you young idiot, you!" thundered the judge.

Just then Calhoun came in. "What's the row?" he asked, looking from one
to the other.

"Row, row!" sputtered the judge. "If you were as big a fool as your
cousin there, I would skin you alive."

"Glad you have at last come to a full appreciation of my worth," coolly
replied Calhoun. "For years I have had the virtues of my cousin held up
to me as a shining mark to follow. Now, I find I am saving my skin by
surpassing him in the wisdom of this world. Congratulate me, dear
father."

"Why, this fool says he is going to enlist in the Yankee army," foamed
the Judge, pointing at Fred.

"And this fool says he is going to enlist in the Southern army,"
answered Calhoun, pointing to himself.

The judge was sobered instantly. "Calhoun, you don't mean it?" he asked.

"Yes, I do mean it," stoutly replied the boy. "Why not? Haven't you been
talking for years of the rights of the South? Are you not doing
everything possible to take Kentucky out of the Union? Haven't you
encouraged the enlistment of soldiers for the South? Then why not I? Why
am I better than others? Father, I don't want to quarrel with you as
Fred has with his father, but I am going into the Southern army, and I
hope with your blessing."

The judge was completely sobered. Having his son go to war was so much
different from having some one else's son go.

"Do not do anything rash, my son," he said to Calhoun. "When the time
comes if you must go, I will see what can be done for you. As for you,
Fred," he said, "you stay here with Calhoun until I return. I am going
to see your father," and calling for his horse, the judge rode away.

It was afternoon before the judge came back. Calling the boys into a
room for a private interview, he said: "Fred, I have been to see your
father, and he is very much chagrined over your disobedience. His fierce
anger is gone, and in its place a deep sorrow. He does not ask you to
give up your principle, but he does ask that you do not enter the
Federal army. You are much too young, to say nothing of other
considerations. You should accept his proposition and go to Europe. We
have come to this conclusion, that if you will go I will send Calhoun
with you. That will be an even stand off. Calhoun wants to enter the
Southern army, you the Northern, so neither section loses anything. You
have both done your duty to your section, and both will have the
pleasure and advantage of a university course in Europe. What do you
say, boys?"

"That it is a mean underhanded way to prevent me from entering the
army," flared up Calhoun. "I hope Fred will not accept."

"Be careful, boy," said the judge, getting red in the face. "You will
not find me as lenient as Mr. Shackelford has been with Fred. You will
go where I say."

Calhoun's temper was up, and there would have been a scene right then
and there if Fred had not interfered.

"Uncle," said he, "there is no use of Calhoun and you disagreeing over
this matter. I shall not go to Europe; so far as I am concerned, it is
settled. As for Calhoun entering the army, you must settle that between
you."

Calhoun pressed Fred's hand, and whispered, "Good for you, Fred; you
have got me out of a bad scrape. I think father will consent to my going
in the army now."

The judge stared at the boys, and then sputtered: "Both of you ought to
be soundly thrashed. But if Fred's mind is made up, it is no use
pursuing the matter further."

"I am firmly resolved," answered Fred.

"Then," answered the judge, "I will say no more, only, Fred, my house is
open to you. When you get sick of your foolish experiment you can have
a home here. Your father refuses to see you unless you consent to obey."

"I thank you, uncle," said Fred, in a low voice, "but I do not think I
shall trouble you much."

In justice to Mr. Shackelford, it must be said it was by his request
that Judge Pennington made this offer to Fred. Mr. Shackelford's heart
had softened towards his son, and he did not wish to cast him off
entirely. But the destiny of father and son was to be more closely
interwoven than either thought.

Fred remained at his uncle's until the next day. He and Calhoun slept
together or rather occupied the same bed, for they had too much talking
to do to sleep. Both boys were romantic and fond of adventure. Both
longed for the fierce excitement of war. They did not talk as enemies.
They did not realize that they might face each other on the field of
battle. They talked of their oath, and again promised to keep it to the
letter.

They were like two brothers, each going on a long journey in different
directions.

Their parting the next morning was most affectionate, and when Fred rode
away he turned his horse's head in the direction of Camp Dick Robinson.



CHAPTER VI.

THE FIGHT FOR THE ARMS.


The soldiers that Nelson had gathered at Camp Dick Robinson were a
nondescript set, not only in clothing, but in arms. Squirrel rifles and
shotguns were the principal weapons. When he first began organizing his
troops, Nelson had ordered guns and ammunition from the Federal
government, and his impetuous spirit chafed at their non-arrival.
Consequently he was not in the best of humor, and was mentally cursing
the government for its exceeding slowness when Fred rode up to his
headquarters.

Fred's ride had been anything but a pleasant one. That he had taken a
desperate step for a boy of his age, he well knew. He passionately loved
his father, and the thought that he had been disowned for disobedience
was a bitter one. He strove to fight back the lump that would rise in
his throat; and in spite of all his efforts to keep them back, the tears
would well up in his eyes. But he never faltered in his determination.
He had given himself, heart and soul, to the cause of the Union, and had
no thought of turning back. Even if Nelson did not receive him, if it
came to the worst he would enlist as a private soldier. Serve the Union
he would.

"A boy to see me," snapped Nelson, when an orderly reported that a boy
was outside and wished to see him. "Tell him to go to the ----."

The orderly reported to Fred Nelson's kind wish.

"Tell him," replied Fred, rather indignantly, "that Fred Shackelford
wishes to see him."

The orderly soon returned, and ushered Fred into the presence of the
irate officer.

"It is you, Fred, is it?" said Nelson, as our hero entered and saluted
him. "I am sorry I told you to go where I did, but the truth is I am out
of sorts. Have you any news to cheer me up?"

"News, General, yes; and quite important, if you do not already know it.
But first," continued Fred, glancing at the star which glistened on
Nelson's shoulder, "let me congratulate you. I see you are no longer
Lieutenant Nelson of the navy, but General Nelson of the army."

"Yes," replied Nelson, with a twinkle in his eye, "I now command on
land; so, young man, be careful how you try to ride over me."

Fred laughed as he thought of his first meeting with Nelson, and
replied: "I shall never so forget myself again, General."

"Now," continued Nelson, "give me the news. You said you had something
important to communicate."

"So I have if you are not already informed. You are expecting arms for
your men, are you not?"

"I am, and I am all out of patience because I do not receive them. They
should have been here days ago. But what do you know about this?"

"I know that you will never receive them, if the friends of the South
can prevent it; and that they are taking active measures to do."

"Tell me all about it," said Nelson, manifesting the greatest interest.

Fred then related all that he had heard at the meeting which took place
at his father's house. Nelson's face grew very grave. Then he asked,
"Where did you learn of all this?"

"Please do not ask me," replied Fred, in a low voice. "I can only say
the information is absolutely correct."

"Never mind," said Nelson, kindly. "I think I understand. Your news is,
indeed, important. The enemy must have spies watching every movement.
You have again rendered me important service, Fred. How I wish you could
take up with that offer I made you."

"That is what I have come for, General, if you will accept my poor
services."

"What! has your father consented?" asked Nelson, in surprise.

Fred colored, and then replied: "I have no home; my father has cast me
out."

"For what?"

"I had my choice to accompany him in the Confederate army or to go to
Europe to attend some university. I refused to do either."

Nelson knitted his brows a moment as if in thought, and then replied:
"You were certainly right in refusing the first; I wonder at your father
making you the proposition. The last was a very reasonable proposition,
and a wise one. You should have accepted it. I am afraid I am to blame
for your folly--for such it is. The offer I made you appealed to your
boyish imagination and love of adventure, and caused you to go against
the wishes of your father. Four or five years at some foreign university
is a chance not to be idly thrown away, to say nothing about obeying the
wishes of your father. As much as I would like your services, Fred, be
reconciled to your father; go to Europe, and keep out of this infernal
war. It will cost the lives of thousands of just such noble youths as
you before it ends; and," he continued, with a tinge of sadness in his
tone, "I sometimes think I shall never live to see it end. I am
surrounded by hundreds of enemies who are hungering for my life."

"Your advice, General, is most kindly given," answered Fred, "and I
sincerely thank you for what you have said; but it is impossible for me
to accept it. It is all over between father and myself. He gave me
$1,000 and my horse, and told me to go my way. I love my father, but if
I should now go back after what has passed, he would despise me, as I
would despise myself. Father is the soul of honor; if I should play the
craven after all that I have said, he would not only despise, but loathe
me. Now I can hope that time may once more unite us. Be assured that
though his heart may be filled with anger towards me now, if I prove
myself worthy, he will yet be proud of his son."

Nelson's heart was touched. He grasped Fred's hand, and exclaimed with
much feeling: "You must have a noble father, or he could not have such a
son. Yes, Fred, I will take you. Consider yourself attached to my staff
as confidential scout and messenger. I do not wish you to enlist; you
will be more free to act if you are not an enlisted soldier."

Fred warmly thanked the general for his expression of confidence, and
announced himself as ready for orders.

Nelson smiled at his ardor, and then said: "I believe you stated that
that meeting is to take place in Scott county the 17th?"

"Yes, sir."

"This is the 14th. You can make it all right. How would you like to go
there, and see what you can learn?"

Fred's eyes kindled. "I can make it all right, but I am afraid some of
them may know me."

"We will fix that all right," responded Nelson.

The next morning, a boy with jet black hair and hands and face stained
brown rode away from General Nelson's headquarters. It would have been
a close observer indeed that would have taken that boy for Fred
Shackelford.

It was on the evening of the 16th that Fred reached Georgetown. He found
the little city full of excited partisans of the South. At the meeting
the next day many fierce speeches were made. The extremists were for at
once calling out the State Guards, and marching on Camp Dick Robinson,
and capturing it at the point of the bayonet. But more pacific advice
prevailed. Governor Magoffin was instructed to protest in the strongest
language to President Lincoln, and to call on him at once to disband the
troops at Dick Robinson. As for allowing the arms to be shipped, it was
resolved that it should be prevented at all hazards.

When Fred arrived at Georgetown, he found at the hotel that he could
procure a room next to the one occupied by Major Hockoday, and believing
that the major's room might be used for secret consultations of the more
violent partisans of the South, he engaged it, hoping that in some
manner he might become possessed of some of their secrets. While the
room engaged by Major Hockoday was unoccupied he deftly made a hole
through the plastering in his room, and then with the aid of a sharpened
stick made a very small opening through the plastering into the next
room. He then rolled up a sheet of paper in the shape of a trumpet. By
placing the small end of the paper in the small opening, and putting his
ear to the larger end, he was enabled to hear much that was said,
especially if everything was still and the conversation was animated.
The result exceeded his most sanguine expectations. After the close of
the public meeting, a number of the more prominent actors gathered in
Major Hockoday's room.

A heated discussion arose as to how Kentucky could the most quickly
throw off her neutrality, and join her fortune to that of the
Confederacy.

"Gentlemen," said Major Hockoday, "I believe every one present is a true
son of the South, therefore I can speak to you freely. The first thing,
as we all agree, is to prevent the shipment of these arms. Then if
Lincoln refuses to disband the troops at Dick Robinson, the program is
this: You all know that General Buckner has been in Washington for some
time talking neutrality. In a measure he has gained the confidence of
Lincoln, and has nearly received the promise that no Federal troops from
other States will be ordered into the State as long as the Confederate
troops keep out. Buckner has secretly gone to Richmond, where he will
accept a commission from the Confederate government. He will then come
back by way of the South, and issue a proclamation to loyal Kentuckians
to join his standard. The State Guards should join him to a man. Then,
if Lincoln refuses to disband the soldiers at Dick Robinson, the
Confederate government will occupy the State with troops, claiming and
justly, too, that the Federal government has not respected the
neutrality of the State. The coming of the Confederate troops will fire
the heart of every true Kentuckian, and all over the State Confederates
will spring to arms, and the half-armed ragamuffins of Nelson will be
scattered like a flock of sheep. By a dash Louisville can be occupied,
and Kentucky will be where she belongs--in the Southern Confederacy.
What think you, gentlemen, of the program?"

A wild cheer burst from those present. Strong men embraced each other
with tears streaming down their cheeks. They believed with their whole
hearts and souls that the South was right, and that Kentucky's place was
with her Southern sisters, and now that there seemed to be a possibility
of this, their enthusiasm knew no bounds.

As for Fred, he drew a long breath. He knew that he had gained
information of the greatest value to the Federal cause.

"It is time for me to be going," he said to himself. "Nelson must know
of this as soon as possible."

As he passed out of the room, he came face to face with Major Hockoday.

The major stared at him a moment, and then roughly asked: "What is your
name, and what are you doing here?"

"I see no reason why I should report to you," replied Fred. "I am a
guest at this hotel, and am minding my own business. I wish I could say
as much for you," and he walked away.

The major looked after him, his face red with anger, and muttered:
"Strange! but if that boy didn't have black hair and was not dark, I
should swear it was Fred Shackelford. I must find out more about him."

But a gentleman came along just then and engaged him in conversation. As
soon as he could disengage himself, the major examined the hotel
register to find who occupied room 13. Opposite that number he found
written in a bold, boyish hand:

"F. Carrington.... Louisville."

Fred's full name was Fred Carrington Shackelford, and he had registered
his given names only. Major Hockoday made careful inquiry about the boy,
but no one knew him. He had paid his bill, called for his horse, and
rode away. More the people could not tell. Major Hockoday was troubled,
why he hardly knew; but somehow he felt as if the presence of that
black-haired boy boded no good to their cause.

All of this time Fred was riding swiftly towards Lexington.

General Nelson listened to his report not only with attention, but with
astonishment.

"Fred," said he, "you are a marvel; you are worth a brigade of soldiers.
I have been reporting all the time to the authorities at Washington that
Buckner was heart and soul with the South; but they wouldn't believe me.
Neither will they believe me now, but I can act on your information."

"Fred," continued the general, walking rapidly up and down the room, "I
sometimes think there is a set of dunderheads at Washington. They think
they know everything, and don't know anything. If Kentucky is saved, it
will be saved by the loyal men of the State. Just think of their
listening to Buckner instead of me," and the general worked himself into
a violent rage, and it took him some time to cool off. Then he said: "I
will try once more to hurry up those arms. I will send you to-morrow to
Cincinnati as a special messenger. I will write what you have told me,
and I want you to impress it on General Anderson's mind. Tell him to
hurry, hurry, or it will be too late."

The next morning Fred was on his way back to Nicholasville. From there
he took the train for Cincinnati, at which place he arrived in due time.
He delivered his dispatches to General Anderson, who, after reading
them, looked at him kindly and said:

"General Nelson sends a young messenger, but he tells me of the great
service you have performed and the valuable information you have
gathered. It is certainly wonderful for so young a boy. Tell me more
about it."

Fred modestly related what had occurred at Georgetown.

General Anderson listened attentively, and when Fred had finished, said:
"You certainly deserve the credit General Nelson has given you. The
information you received is of the greatest importance, and will be at
once forwarded to Washington. In the mean time, we must do the best we
can. General Nelson may think I am slow, but there is so much to do--so
much to do, and so little to do with," and the general sighed. Fred
observed him with interest, for he realized that he was talking to the
hero who had defended Fort Sumter to the last.

The general was broken in health, and looked sick and careworn, and not
the man to assume the great burden he was bearing. It was with joy that
Fred heard that the arms would be shipped in a day or two. But when the
train carrying them was ready to start, Fred saw, to his amazement, that
it was not to be guarded.

"That train will never get through," he thought. "It is funny how they
do things."

Fred was right; the enemies of the government were not idle. Spies were
all around, and they knew when the train was to start to a minute, and
the news was flashed ahead. At a small station in Harrison county the
train was stopped by a large mob, who tore up the track in front, making
it impossible for it to proceed. There was nothing to do but to take the
train back to Cincinnati, and with it a communication to the officials
of the road that if they attempted to run the train again the whole
track would be torn up from Covington to Lexington.

The railway officials, thoroughly frightened, begged General Anderson
not to attempt to run the train again. The Southern sympathizers were
jubilant over their success, and boldly declared the arms would never be
shipped.

As for Fred, he was completely disgusted, and expressed himself so.

"Well, my boy, what would you do?" asked General Anderson, smiling.

"Do! do!" answered Fred, excitedly. "I would send a regiment and a
battery on a train ahead of the one carrying the arms, and if the mob
interfered I would sweep them from the face of the earth."

"Well said, my lad," replied Anderson, his face lighting up and his eyes
kindling. "I feel that way myself, but a soldier must obey orders, and
unfortunately I have different orders."

"What is the next move?" asked Fred.

"I have orders to load them on a steamboat, and send them up the
Kentucky River to Hickman Bridge."

Fred looked his disgust.

"You don't seem pleased," said the general.

"Pleased!" blurted out Fred; "excuse me, General, but it is all
foolishness. Have I not heard those fellows plotting? The boat will be
stopped the same as the train."

The general turned away, but Fred heard him say, as if to himself: "I am
afraid it will be so, but the government persists in tying our hands as
far as Kentucky is concerned."

General Anderson's position was certainly an anomalous one--the
commander of a department, and yet not allowed to move troops into it.

According to his orders, Fred took passage on the boat with the arms,
but he felt it would never be permitted to reach its destination. His
fears proved only too true. When the boat reached the confines of Owen
county they found a great mob congregated on the banks of the river.

"Turn back! turn back!" was the cry, "or we will burn the boat." The
captain tried to parley, but he was met with curses and jeers.

Fred went on shore, and mingling with the mob, soon learned there was a
conspiracy on the part of the more daring to burn the boat, even if it
did turn back. Hurrying on board, Fred told the captain his only
salvation was to turn back at once, and to put on all steam. He did so,
and the boat and cargo were saved.

Once more the Confederate sympathizers went wild with rejoicing, and the
Union men were correspondingly depressed.

But the boat made an unexpected move, as far as the enemy were
concerned. Instead of proceeding back to Cincinnati, it turned down the
Ohio to Louisville. Here the arms were hastily loaded on the cars, and
started for Lexington. Fred was hurried on ahead to apprise General
Nelson of their coming. Fred delivered his message to the general, and
then said: "The train will never get through; it will be stopped at
Lexington, if not before."

"If the train ever reaches Lexington I will have the arms," grimly
replied Nelson. "Lexington is in my jurisdiction; there will be no
fooling, no parleying with traitors, if the train reaches that city."

Then he turned to Colonel Thomas E. Bramlette, and said: "Colonel, take
a squadron of cavalry, proceed to Lexington, and when that train comes,
take charge of it and guard it to Nicholasville. I will have wagons
there to transport the arms here."

Colonel Bramlette saluted, and replied: "General, I will return with
those arms or not at all."

The general smiled; he understood.

"May I accompany the colonel?" asked Fred.

"Certainly, if you wish," answered Nelson. "You have stayed by the arms
so far, and it is no more than right that you should be in at the
finish."

The enemy was alert, and the news reached Lexington that the train
loaded with the arms and ammunition for the soldiers at Dick Robinson
was coming.

Instantly the little city was aflame with excitement. The State Guards
under the command of John H. Morgan gathered at their armory with the
avowed intention of seizing the train by force. John C. Breckinridge
made a speech to the excited citizens, saying the train must be stopped,
if blood flowed.

In the midst of this excitement Colonel Bramlette with his cavalry
arrived. This added fuel to the already intense excitement.

"Drive the Lincoln hirelings from the city!" shouted Breckinridge, and
the excited crowd took up the cry.

A demand was at once drawn up, signed by Breckinridge, Morgan and many
others, and sent to Colonel Bramlette, requesting him to at once
withdraw from the city, or blood would be shed.

Colonel Bramlette's lips curled in scorn as he read the demand, and
turning to the messenger who brought it, said: "Go tell the gentlemen
they shall have my answer shortly."

Writing an answer, he turned to Fred, saying: "Here, my boy, for what
you have done, you richly deserve the honor of delivering this message."

Right proudly did Fred bear himself as he delivered his message to
Breckinridge. Major Hockoday, who was standing by Breckinridge, scowled
and muttered, "It's that ---- Shackelford boy."

Captain Conway heard him, and seeing Fred, with a fearful oath, sprang
towards him with uplifted hand. He had not seen Fred since that night he
plunged from the train. His adventure had become known, and he had to
submit to any amount of chaffing at being outwitted by a boy; and his
brother officers took great delight in calling out: "Look out, Conway,
here comes that detective from Danville!"

This made Captain Conway hate Fred with all the ardor of his small soul,
and seeing the boy, made him so forget himself as to attack him.

But a revolver flashed in his face, and a firm voice said: "Not so fast,
Captain."

The irate captain was seized and dragged away, and when the tumult had
subsided Breckinridge said: "I am sorry to see the son of my friend,
Colonel Shackelford, engaged in such business; but it is the message
that he brings that concerns us."

He then read the following laconic note from Colonel Bramlette:


     LEXINGTON, Aug. --, 1861.

     TO HON. JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE, JOHN H. MORGAN AND OTHERS.

     Gentlemen:--I shall take those arms, and if a drop of Union blood
     be shed, I will not leave a single Secessionist alive in Lexington.

     THOMAS E. BRAMLETTE,
     _Colonel Commanding_.


There was a breathless silence; faces of brave men grew pale. There were
oaths and muttered curses, but the mob began to melt away. The victory
was won.

The train arrived, and Colonel Bramlette took charge of it without
trouble. Just as the troop of cavalry was leaving Lexington, a boy came
out and thrust a note into Fred's hand. He opened it and read:


     TO FRED SHACKELFORD:

     Boy as you are, I propose to shoot you on sight, so be on your
     guard.

     CAPT. P. C. CONWAY.


Fred smiled, and handed the note to Colonel Bramlette, who read it and
said: "Fred, you will have to look out for that fellow."

The journey back to Dick Robinson was without incident. The long looked
for arms and ammunition had come. What rejoicing there was! What wild
hurrahs! Plenty of arms and ammunition! It meant everything to those men
surrounded as they were with enemies on every side. In the midst of the
rejoicing, Fred was not forgotten. He and Colonel Bramlette were the
heroes of the hour. The fight for the possession of the arms was over.
General Nelson had won.



CHAPTER VII.

THE FOILING OF A PLOT.


Camp Dick Robinson was all excitement. General Nelson, the man of iron
nerve, who, in the face of opposition from friends, the most direful
threats from foes, saved Central Kentucky to the Union, had been
relieved of his command and assigned to another field of labor. The new
commander to take his place was General George H. Thomas.

To Fred the news that _his_ general, as he had come to look upon Nelson,
had been assigned to another command, was anything but pleasing. "But
where Nelson goes, there will I go," was his thought. "After all," he
said, bitterly, "what does it matter where I go. I am homeless and an
outcast."

General Thomas, like Nelson, was a heavy, thickset man, but there the
likeness ended. Thomas never lost his temper, he never swore, he never
complained, he never got excited. He was always cool and collected, even
under the most trying circumstances. He afterwards became known to his
soldiers as "Pap Thomas," and was sometimes called "Slow-Trot Thomas,"
for the reason he was never known to ride his horse off a trot, even in
the most desperate battle.

When General Thomas reported to Camp Dick Robinson he and Nelson held a
long consultation. Finally Fred was called into their presence.

"This, General, is Fred Shackelford, the boy of whom I spoke," said
Nelson.

Fred saluted the new commander, and then respectfully remained standing,
awaiting orders.

"Fred," continued General Nelson, "General Thomas and I have been
discussing you, and I have been telling him how valuable your services
have been. I fully expected to take you with me to my new command, but
both General Thomas and myself feel that just at present your services
are very much needed here. This camp is very important, and it is
surrounded with so many dangers that we need to take every precaution.
You are not only well acquainted with the country, but you seem to have
a peculiar way of getting at the enemy's secrets no other one possesses.
There is no doubt but you are needed here more than at Maysville, where
I am going. But we have concluded to leave it to you, whether you go or
stay. You may be sure I shall be pleased to have you go with me. What do
you say, Fred?"

Fred looked at General Thomas, and thought he had never seen a finer,
grander face; but he had grown very fond of the fiery Nelson, so he
replied:

"General Nelson, you know my feelings towards you. I appreciate your
kindness. If I consulted simply my own wishes I should go with you. But
you have pointed out to me my duty. I am very grateful to General Thomas
for his feelings towards me. I shall stay as long as I am needed here,
and serve the general to the best of my ability."

"Bravely said, Fred, bravely said," responded Nelson. "You will find
General Thomas a more agreeable commander than myself."

"There, General, that will do," said Thomas quietly.

So it was settled that Fred was to stay for the present with General
Thomas.

The next day Generals Thomas and Nelson went to Cincinnati to confer
with General Anderson, and Fred was invited to accompany them.

Once more he was asked to lay before General Anderson the full text of
the conversation he had overheard at Georgetown. This he did.

"What do you think, General?" asked Thomas, who had listened very
closely to the recital.

"I am afraid," replied General Anderson, "that the authorities at
Washington do not fully realize the condition of affairs in Kentucky.
Neither have they any conception of the intrigue going on to take the
State out of the Union. No doubt, General Buckner has been playing a
sharp game at Washington. He seems to have completely won the confidence
of the President. It is for this reason so many of our requests pass
unheeded. If what young Shackelford has heard is true, General Buckner
is now in Richmond. He is there to accept a command from the
Confederate government, and is to return here to organize the disloyal
forces of Kentucky to force the State out of the Union. Now, in the face
of these facts, what do you think of this," and the general read the
following:


     EXECUTIVE MANSION, Aug. 17th, 1861.

     HON. SECRETARY OF WAR.

     My Dear Sir:--Unless there be reason to the contrary, not known to
     me, make out a commission for Simon B. Buckner as a
     Brigadier-General of volunteers. It is to be put in the hands of
     General Anderson, and delivered to General Buckner, or not, at the
     discretion of General Anderson. Of course, it is to remain a secret
     unless and until the commission is delivered.

     A. LINCOLN.


During the reading, General Thomas sat with immovable countenance,
betraying neither approbation nor disgust. But Nelson exploded like a
volcano.

"Great God!" he roared, "are they all idiots at Washington? Buckner a
Federal general! Oh! the fools, the fools! Give him his commission,
Anderson, give him his commission, and then let Lincoln invite Jeff
Davis to a seat in the cabinet. It would be as sensible," and then he
poured forth such a volley of oaths that what he really meant to say
became obscure.

When he had blown himself out, General Thomas quietly said: "Now,
General, that you have relieved yourself, let us again talk business."

"I don't believe you would change countenance, Thomas, if Beauregard was
placed in command of the Federal armies," replied Nelson, pettishly.

"Perhaps not," calmly replied Thomas. "But Central Kentucky needed just
such fire and enthusiasm as you possess to save it from the clutches of
the rebels, and if I can only complete the grand work you have begun I
shall be content, and not worry over whom the President recommends for
office."

"You will complete it, General; my work could not be left in better
hands," replied Nelson, completely mollified.

In a few moments Nelson excused himself, as he had other duties to
perform.

Looking after him, General Anderson said: "I am afraid Nelson's temper
and unruly tongue will get him into serious trouble yet. But he has done
what I believe no other man could have done as well. To his efforts,
more than to any other one man, do we owe our hold on Kentucky."

"His lion-like courage and indomitable energy will cover a multitude of
faults," was the reply of General Thomas.

Fred returned to Camp Dick Robinson with General Thomas, and he soon
found that the general was fully as energetic as Nelson, though in a
more quiet way. The amount of work that General Thomas dispatched was
prodigious. Every little detail was looked after, but there was no
hurry, no confusion. The camp began to assume a more military aspect,
and the men were brought under more thorough discipline.

September saw great changes in affairs in Kentucky. According to the
program which Fred had heard outlined at Georgetown, the Confederates
began their aggressive movements. Hickman, on the Mississippi River, was
occupied by the Confederate army under General Polk on the 5th. As swift
as a stroke of lightning, General Grant, who was in command at Cairo,
Illinois, retaliated by occupying Paducah on the 6th. General Polk then
seized the important post of Columbus on the 7th. A few days afterward
General Buckner moved north from Tennessee, and occupied Bowling Green.
At the same time General Zollicoffer invaded the State from Cumberland
Gap. All three of these Confederate generals issued stirring addresses
to all true Kentuckians to rally to their support. It was confidently
expected by the Confederate authorities that there would be a general
uprising throughout the State in favor of the South. But they were
grievously disappointed; the effect was just the opposite. The
Legislature, then in session at Frankfort, passed a resolution
commanding the Governor to issue a proclamation ordering the
Confederates at once to evacuate the State. Governor Magoffin, much to
his chagrin, was obliged to issue the proclamation. A few days later the
Legislature voted that the State should raise a force of 40,000 men, and
that this force be tendered the United States for the purpose of putting
down rebellion. An invitation was also extended to General Anderson to
assume command of all these forces. Thus, to their chagrin, the
Confederates saw their brightest hopes perish. Instead of their getting
possession of the State, even neutrality had perished. The State was
irrevocably committed to the Union, but the people were as hopelessly
divided as ever. It was to be a battle to the death between the opposing
factions.

Shortly after his return to Dick Robinson, Fred began to long to hear
from home, to know how those he loved fared; so he asked General Thomas
for a day or two of absence. It was readily granted, and soon he was on
his way to Danville. He found only his Uncle and Aunt Pennington at
home. His father had gone South to accept the colonelcy of a regiment,
and was with Buckner. His cousin Calhoun had accompanied Colonel
Shackelford South, having the promise of a position on the staff of some
general officer. His little sister Bessie had been sent to Cincinnati to
a convent school. The adherents of the opposing factions were more
bitter toward each other than ever, and were ready to spring at each
other's throats at the slightest provocation. Neighbors were estranged,
families were broken, nevermore to be reunited; and over all there
seemed to be hanging the black shadow of coming sorrow. Kentucky was not
only to be deluged in blood, but with the hot burning tears of those
left behind to groan and weep.

Fred was received coldly by his uncle and aunt. "You know," said Judge
Pennington, "my house is open to you, but I cannot help feeling the
keenest sorrow over your conduct."

"I am sorry, very sorry, uncle, if what I have done has grieved you,"
answered Fred.

"No one can be really sorry who persists in his course," answered the
judge. "Fred, rather--yes, a thousand times--had I rather see you dead
than doing as you are. If my brave boy falls," and his voice trembled as
he spoke, "I shall have the satisfaction of knowing that he fell in a
glorious cause. But you, Fred, you----" his voice broke; he could say no
more.

Fred was deeply moved. "Uncle," he softly said, "I admit you are honest
and sincere in your belief. Why can you not admit as much for me? Why is
it a disgrace to fight for the old flag, to defend the Union that
Washington and Jefferson helped form, and that Jackson defended?"

"The wrong," answered Judge Pennington, "consists in trying to coerce
sovereign States. The Constitution gives any State the right to withdraw
from the Union at pleasure. The South is fighting for her constitutional
rights----"

"And for human slavery," added Fred.

The judge's cheeks flamed with anger.

"Look out, Fred," he exclaimed, choking with passion, "lest I drive you
from my door, despite my promise to your father. Don't go too far. You
are not only fighting against the South, but you are becoming a detested
Abolitionist--a nigger worshiper."

Fred felt his manhood aroused, but controlling his passion he calmly
replied:

"Uncle, I will not displease you longer with my presence. The time may
come when you may need my help, instead of my needing yours. If so, do
not hesitate to call on me. I still love my kindred as well as ever;
they are as near to me as ever. There is no dishonor in a man loyally
following what he honestly believes to be right. I believe you and my
father to be wrong--that your sympathies have led you terribly astray;
but in my sight you are none the less true, noble, honest men. As for
me, I answer for myself. I am for the Union, now and forever. Good-bye,
uncle! May God keep all of those we love from harm," and he rode away.

Judge Pennington gazed after him with a troubled look, and then murmured
to himself: "After all, a fine boy, a grand boy! A Kentuckian all over!
Would that he were on the right side!"

Upon Fred's return to headquarters he found General Thomas in deep
consultation with his staff. Circulars had been scattered all over the
State and notices printed in newspapers calling for a meeting of the
State Guards at Lexington on the 20th. Ostensibly the object of the
meeting was to be for a week's drill, and for the purpose of better
preparing the Guards to protect the interests of the State. But General
Thomas believed there was a hidden meaning in the call; that it was
conceived in deceit, and that it meant treachery. What this treachery
was he did not know, and it was this point he was discussing with his
staff when Fred entered. The sight of the boy brought a smile to his
face.

"Ah, my boy!" he exclaimed, "I am glad to see you. We have a hard
problem; it is one rather in your line. I trust you can solve it."

He then laid the circular before Fred, and expressed his opinion that it
contained a hidden meaning. "There is no end to those fellows'
plottings," he said, "and we are still weak, very weak here. With
General Zollicoffer moving this way from Cumberland Gap, it would not
take much of a force in our rear to cause a great disaster. In fact, a
hostile force at Lexington, even if small, would be a serious matter."

Fred read the circular carefully, as if reading between the lines, and
then asked:

"It is the real meaning of this call that you wish?"

"By all means, if it can be obtained," answered the general.

"I will try to obtain it," replied Fred, quietly. "General you may not
hear from me for two or three days."

"May success attend you, my boy," replied the general, kindly, and with
this he dismissed his staff.

"It has come to a pretty pass," said a dapper young lieutenant of the
staff to an older member, "that the general prefers a boy to one of us,"
and he drew himself proudly up, as if to say, "Now, if the general had
detailed me, there might have been some hopes of success."

The older member smiled, and answered: "I think it just as well,
Lieutenant, that he chose the boy. I don't think either you or me fitted
for that kind of work."

The lieutenant sniffed and walked off.

Again a black-haired, dark-skinned boy left headquarters at Dick
Robinson, this time for Lexington. Arriving there, Fred took a room at
the leading hotel, registering as Charles Danford, Cincinnati, thinking
it best to take an entirely fictitious name. He soon learned that the
leading Southern sympathizers of the city were in the habit of meeting
in a certain room at the hotel. He kept very quiet, for there was one
man in Lexington he did not care to meet, and that man was Major
Hockoday. He knew that the major would recognize him as the boy he met
at Georgetown, and that meant the defeat of his whole scheme. Fred's
first step was to make friends with the chamber maid, a comely mulatto
girl. This he did with a bit of flattery and a generous tip. By adroit
questioning, he learned that the girl had charge of the room in which
the meetings of the conspirators were held.

Could she in any manner secrete him in the room during one of the
meetings?

The girl took alarm. "No, youn' massa, no!" she replied, trembling.

"Not for five dollars?"

"Not fo' fiv' 'undred," answered the girl. "Massa kill me, if he foun'
it out."

Fred saw that she could not be bribed; he would have to try a new tack.
"See here, Mary," he asked, "you would like to be free, would you not,
just like a white girl?"

"Yes, massa, I woul' like dat."

"You have heard of President Lincoln, have you not?"

The girl's eyes lit up with a sudden fire. "Yes, Massa Linkun good; he
want to free we 'uns. All de niggers talkin' 'bout dat."

"Mary, I am a friend of Lincoln. One of his great men sent me here. The
men who meet in that room are his enemies. They want to kill him."

The girl's eyes opened wide with terror.

"I am here trying to find out their plans, so we can keep them from
killing Mr. Lincoln. Mary, you must help me, or you will be blamed for
what may happen, and you will never be free."

The girl began to cry. "Massa will whip me to death, if he foun' it
out," she blubbered.

"Your master will never find it out, even if I am discovered, for I will
never tell on you."

"Dat so, massa?"

"Yes; I will swear it on the Bible."

Like most of her race, the girl was very superstitious, and had great
reverence for the Bible. She went and brought one, and with his hand on
the book Fred took a most solemn oath never to betray her--no, not if he
was torn to pieces with red-hot pincers.

Along toward night she came and whispered to Fred that she had been
told to place the room in order. There was, she said, but one place to
hide, and that was behind a large sofa, which stood across one corner of
the room. It was a perilous hiding place, but Fred resolved to risk it.
"They can but kill me," thought he, "and I had almost as soon die as
fail."

It was getting dark when Mary unlocked the door of the room and let Fred
slip in. He found that by lying close to the sofa, he might escape
detection, though one should glance over the top.

The minutes passed like hours to the excited boy. The slightest noise
startled him, and he found himself growing nervous, and in spite of all
his efforts, a slight tremor shook his limbs. At last he heard
foot-falls along the hall, the door was unlocked, and some one entered
the room. It was the landlord, who lit the gas, looked carefully around,
and went out. Soon the room began to fill. Fred's nervousness was all
gone; but his heart beat so loudly that he thought it must be heard. It
was a notable gathering of men distinguished not only in State but
national affairs. Chief among them was John C. Breckinridge, as knightly
and courteous as ever; then there were Colonel Humphrey Marshall, John
H. Morgan, Colonel Preston, and a score of others. These men had
gathered for the purpose of dragging Kentucky out of the Union over the
vote of her citizens, and in spite of her loyal Legislature. In their
zeal they threw to the winds their own beloved doctrine of State
rights, and would force Kentucky into the Southern Confederacy whether
she wanted to go or not. Yet they were men of the highest character.
They believed the South was right, that it was their duty to defend her,
and that any means were lawful to bring about the desired end.

Fred, as he lay in his hiding place, hardly dared to breathe. Once his
heart ceased to beat when he heard Morgan say: "There is room behind
that sofa for one to hide."

Colonel Marshall glanced behind it, and said: "There is no one there."

Then they commenced to talk, and Fred lay and listened to the whole
plot. The State Guards were to assemble, professedly, as the circular
stated, for muster and drill, but really for one of the most daring of
_coups-de-main_.

The State arsenal at Frankfort was to be taken by surprise, and the arms
secured. The loyal Legislature was then to be dispersed at the point of
the bayonet, a provisional Legislature organized, and the State voted
out of the Union. The force was then to attack Camp Dick Robinson, in
conjunction with General Zollicoffer, who was to move up from Cumberland
Gap; and between the two forces it was thought the camp would fall an
easy prey. In the mean time, Buckner was to make a dash for Louisville
from Bowling Green. If he failed to take it by surprise, all the forces
were to join and capture it, thus placing the whole State in the control
of the Confederates.

It was a bold, but admirably conceived plan.

In an eloquent speech, Mr. Breckinridge pointed out that the plan was
feasible. He said the ball once started, thousands of Kentuckians would
spring to arms all over the State. The plan was earnestly discussed and
fully agreed to. The work of each man was carefully mapped out, and
every detail carefully arranged. At last the meeting was over, and the
company began to pass out.

Fred's heart gave a great bound. He had succeeded; the full details of
the plot were in his possession. Waiting until all were well out of the
room, he crawled from his hiding place, and passed out. But he had
exulted too soon in his success. He had scarcely taken three steps from
the door before he came face to face with Major Hockoday, who was
returning for something he had forgotten. The surprise was a mutual one.

"You here!" gasped the major. "Now I have you, you young imp of Satan,"
and he made a grab for his collar. But Fred was as quick and lithe as a
cat, and eluding the major's clutch, he gave him such a blow in the face
that it staggered him against the wall. Before he recovered from the
effects of the blow Fred had disappeared.

[Illustration: "You here!" gasped the Major, and he made a grab for his
collar.]

"Murder! murder!" the major bawled. "Stop the villain!"

From all directions the guests came running. The major's face was
covered with blood, and he truly presented a gory appearance. It was
some time before the excitement subsided so the major could tell his
story. It was that a young villain had assaulted and attempted to murder
him. By his description, the landlord at once identified the boy as the
one who occupied room 45. But a search revealed the fact that the bird
had flown. It was also ascertained that the major had received no
serious injury.

By request of the major the meeting was hastily re-convened. There, in
its privacy, he gave the true history of the attempted murder, as the
guests of the hotel thought it. The major expressed his opinion that the
boy was a spy. He was sure it was the same boy he had met in the hotel
at Georgetown. "You know," he said, "that the landlord at Georgetown
found a hole drilled through the plastering of the room that this boy
occupied, into the one which was occupied by me and in which we held a
meeting. I tell you, the boy is a first-class spy, and I would not be
surprised if he was concealed somewhere in this room during the
meeting."

"Impossible! impossible!" cried several voices, but nevertheless a
number of faces grew pale.

"There is no place he could hide in this room, except behind the sofa,
and I looked there," said Marshall.

"Are you sure you looked well?" asked Morgan.

"Quite sure."

"Gentlemen," said the landlord, "this room is kept locked. No one could
have got into it."

"All I know," said the major, "I met him about three paces from the
door, just as I turned the corner. When I attempted to stop him, he
suddenly struck the blow and disappeared. If it was not for his black
hair, I should be more than ever convinced that the boy was Fred
Shackelford."

"In league with the devil, probably," growled Captain Conway. "For if
there was ever one of his imps on earth, it's that Shackelford boy.
Curse him, I will be even with him yet."

"And so will I," replied the major, gently feeling of his swollen nose.

"Gentlemen," said John H. Morgan, "this is no time for idle regrets.
Whether that boy has heard anything or not, we cannot tell. But from
what Major Hockoday has said, there is no doubt but that he is a spy.
His assault on the major and fleeing show that. So it behooves us to be
careful. I have a trusty agent at Nicholasville, who keeps me fully
informed of all that transpires there. I will telegraph him particulars,
and have him be on the watch for such a boy."

It was an uneasy crowd that separated that night. It looked as if one
boy might bring to naught all their well-laid plans.

The next morning Morgan received the following telegram from
Nicholasville:


     JOHN H. MORGAN:

     Early this morning a black-haired, dark-skinned boy, riding a jaded
     horse, came in on the Lexington pike. Without stopping for
     refreshments he left his horse, and procured a fresh one, which the
     same boy left here a couple of days ago, and rode rapidly away in
     the direction of Camp Dick Robinson.

     SMITH.


"That means trouble," muttered Morgan. "I must put all the boys on their
guard."

Late in the afternoon of the 19th the following telegram was received by
Morgan from Nicholasville:


     JOHN H. MORGAN:

     Colonel Bramlette with his regiment has just forcibly taken
     possession of a train of cars, and will at once start for
     Lexington. You are in danger.

     SMITH.


That night Breckinridge, Marshall, Morgan and half a score of others
fled from Lexington. Their plottings had come to naught; instead of
their bright visions of success, they were fugitives from their homes.
It would have fared ill with that black-haired boy if they could have
got hold of him just then.

When Fred escaped from Major Hockoday, he lost no time in making his way
to the home of one of the most prominent Union men of Lexington. Telling
him he had most important dispatches for General Thomas, a horse was
procured, and through the darkness of the night Fred rode to
Nicholasville, reaching there early in the morning. Leaving his tired
horse, and taking his own, which he had left there, he rode with all
speed to Camp Dick Robinson, and made his report to General Thomas.

The general was both astonished and delighted. He warmly congratulated
Fred, saying it was a wonderful piece of work. "Let's see," said he,
"this is the 16th. I do not want to scare them, as I wish to make a fine
haul, take them right in their treasonable acts. It's the only way I can
make the government believe it. On the 19th I will send Colonel
Bramlette with his regiment with orders to capture the lot. I will also
have to guard against the advance of General Zollicoffer. As for the
advance of General Buckner on Louisville, that is out of my department."

"And there," said Fred, "is where our greatest danger lies. Louisville
is so far north they are careless, forgetting that Buckner has a
railroad in good repair on which to transport his men."

"Do you think he will try that?" asked Thomas.

"Why not?" answered Fred, and then he asked for a map. After studying it
for some time, he turned to Thomas and said:

"General, I have a favor to ask. I would like a leave of absence for a
week. I have an idea I want to work out."

Thomas sat looking at the boy a moment, and then said: "It is nothing
rash, is it, my boy?"

"No more so than what I have done," answered Fred. "In fact, I don't
know that I will do anything. It is only an idea I want to work on; it
may be all wrong. That is the reason I can't explain it to you."

"You are not going to enter the enemy's lines as a spy, are you? If so,
I forbid it. You are too young and too valuable to risk your life that
way."

"No, General, at least I trust not. The rebels will have to get much
farther north than they are now if I enter their lines, even if I carry
out my idea."

"Very well, Fred; you have my consent, but be very careful."

"I shall try to be so, General. I only hope that the suspicions I have
are groundless, and my journey will prove a pleasure trip."

Thus saying, Fred bade the general good day, and early the next morning
he rode away, taking the road to Danville.



CHAPTER VIII.

A DARING DEED.


Fred did not stop in Danville; instead, he avoided the main street, so
as to be seen by as few of his acquaintances as possible. He rode
straight on to Lebanon before he stopped. Here he put up for the night,
giving himself and his horse a good rest. The country was in such a
disturbed condition that every stranger was regarded with suspicion, and
forced to answer a multitude of questions. Fred did not escape, and to
all he gave the same answer, that he was from Danville, and that he was
on his way to Elizabethtown to visit his sick grandfather.

One gentleman was exceedingly inquisitive. He was especially interested
in Prince, examining him closely, and remarking he was one of the finest
horses he ever saw. Fred learned that the man's name was Mathews, that
he was a horse dealer, and was also a violent sympathizer with the
South. He was also reputed to be something of a bully. Fred thought some
of his questions rather impertinent, and gave rather short answers,
which did not seem to please Mathews.

Leaving Lebanon early the next morning, he rode nearly west, it being
his intention to strike the Louisville and Nashville railroad a little
south of Elizabethtown. It was a beautiful September day, and as Fred
cantered along, he sang snatches of songs, and felt merrier and happier
than at any time since that sad parting with his father. Where was his
father now? Where was his cousin Calhoun? And he thought of that strange
oath which bound Calhoun and himself together, and wondered what would
come of it all. But what was uppermost in his mind was the object of his
present journey. Was there anything in it, or was it a fool's errand?
Time would tell. As he was riding along a country road, pondering these
things, it suddenly occurred to him that the landscape appeared
familiar. He reined up his horse, and looked around. The fields
stretching away before him, the few trees, and above all a tumbled down,
half-ruined log hut. It was all so familiar. Yet he knew he had never
been there before. What did it mean? Could he have seen this in a dream
sometime? The more he looked, the more familiar it seemed; and the more
he was troubled.

A countryman came along riding a raw-boned spavined horse; a rope served
for a bridle, and an old coffee sack strapped on the sharp back of the
horse took the place of a saddle. Having no stirrups, the countryman's
huge feet hung dangling down and swung to and fro, like two weights tied
to a string; a dilapidated old hat, through whose holes stuck tufts of
his bleached tow hair, adorned his head.

"Stranger, you 'uns 'pears to be interested," he remarked to Fred, as
he reined in his steed, and at the same time ejected about a pint of
tobacco juice from his capacious mouth.

"Yes," answered Fred, "this place seems to be very familiar--one that I
have seen many times; yet to my certain knowledge, I have never been
here before. I can't understand it."

"Seen it in a picter, I reckon," drawled the countryman.

"What's that?" quickly asked Fred. "I have seen it in a picture? Where?
What do you mean?"

"Nothin', stranger, only they do say the picter of that air blamed old
shanty is every whar up No'th. Blast the ole place. I don't see anything
great in it. I wish it war sunk before he war born."

"Why, man, what do you mean? You talk in riddles."

"Mean!" replied the native, expectorating at a stone in the road, and
hitting it fairly. "I mean that the gol-all-fir'-est, meanest cuss that
ever lived war born thar, the man what's making war on the South, and
wants to put the niggers ekal to us. Abe Lincoln, drat him, war born in
that ole house."

Fred reverently took off his hat. This then was the lowly birthplace of
the man whose name was in the mouths of millions. How mean, how poor it
looked, and yet to what a master mind it gave birth! The life of
Lincoln had possessed a peculiar fascination for Fred, and during the
presidential campaign of the year before the picture of his birthplace
had been a familiar one to him. He now understood why the place looked
so familiar. It was like looking on the face of one he had carefully
studied in a photograph.

"Reckon you are a stranger, or you would have knowed the place?" queried
the countryman.

"Yes, I am a stranger," answered Fred. "Then this is the place where the
President of the United States was born?"

"Yes, an' it war a po' day for ole Kentuck when he war born. Oughter to
ha' died, the ole Abolitioner."

Fred smiled, "Well," he said, "I must be going. I am very much obliged
to you for your information."

"Don't mention it, stranger, don't mention it. Say, that's a mighty fine
hoss you air ridin'; look out or some of them fellers scootin' round the
country will get him. Times mighty ticklish, stranger, mighty ticklish.
Have a chaw of terbacker?" and he extended a huge roll of Kentucky
twist.

"No, thank you," responded Fred, and bidding the countryman good day, he
rode away leaving him in the road staring after him, and muttering:
"Mighty stuck up! Don't chaw terbacker. Wonder if he aint one of them
Abolitioners!"

It was the middle of the afternoon when Fred struck the railroad at a
small station a few miles south of Elizabethtown. There was a crowd
around the little depot, and Fred saw that they were greatly excited.
Hitching his horse, he mingled with the throng, and soon learned that
the train from the south was overdue several hours. To add to the
mystery, all telegraphic communication with the south had been severed.
Strike the instrument as often as he might, the operator could get no
response.

"It's mighty queer," said an intelligent looking man. "There is mischief
up the road of some kind. Here Louisville has been telegraphing like mad
for hours, and can't get a reply beyond this place."

Here the operator came out and announced that telegraphic communication
had also been severed on the north.

"We are entirely cut off," he said. "I can learn nothing. We will have
to wait and see what's the matter, that's all."

Just then away to the south a faint tinge of smoke was seen rising, and
the cry was raised that a train was coming. The excitement arose to
fever heat, and necks were craned, and eyes strained to catch the first
glimpse of the train. At length its low rumbling could be heard, and
when at last it hove in sight, it was seen to be a very heavy one.
Slowly it drew up to the station, and to the surprise of the lookers-on
it was loaded down with soldiers.

"Hurrah for Louisville!" shouted the soldiers, and the crowd took up
the cry. It was Buckner's army from Bowling Green en route for
Louisville by train, hoping thereby to take the place completely by
surprise. So far, everything had gone well. Telegraphic communications
all along the line had been severed by trusty agents; the Federal
authorities at Louisville were resting in fancied security; the city was
lightly guarded.

Already General Buckner's hopes were high. In fancy, he heard his name
on every tongue, and heard himself called the greatest military genius
of the country. When the crowd caught the full meaning of the movement,
cheer after cheer made the welkin ring. They grasped the soldiers'
hands, and bade them wipe the Yankees from the face of the earth.

Fred took in the situation at a glance. This was the idea of which he
spoke to General Thomas. He had an impression that General Buckner might
attempt to do just what he was now doing. It was the hope of thwarting
the movement, if made, that had led Fred to make the journey. His
impressions had proven true; he was on the ground, but how to stop the
train was now the question. He had calculated on plenty of time, that he
could find out when the train was due, and plan his work accordingly.
But the train was before him. In a moment or two it would be gone, and
with it all opportunity to stop it. The thought was maddening. If
anything was done, it must be done quickly. The entire population of
the little village was at the depot; there was little danger of his
being noticed. Dashing into a blacksmith shop he secured a sledge; then
mounting his horse, he rode swiftly to the north. About half a mile from
the depot there was a curve in the track which would hide him from
observation. Jumping Prince over the low fence which guarded the
railroad, in a few seconds he was at work with the sledge trying to
batter out the spikes which held a rail in position. His face was pale,
his teeth set. He worked like a demon. Great drops of perspiration stood
out on his forehead, and his blows rang out like the blows of a giant.
The train whistled; it was ready to start. Fred groaned. Would he be too
late? Between his strokes he could hear the clang of the bell, the
parting cheers of the crowd. He struck like a madman. The heads of the
spikes flew off; they were driven in and the plates smashed. One end of
a rail was loosened; it was driven in a few inches. The deed was done,
and none too soon. The train was rounding the curve.

So busy was Fred that he had not noticed that two men on horseback had
ridden up to the fence, gazed at him a moment in astonishment, then
shouted in anger, and dismounted. Snatching a revolver from his pocket,
Fred sent a ball whistling by their ears, and yelled: "Back! back, as
you value your lives!"

Jumping on their horses quicker than they dismounted, they galloped
toward the approaching train, yelling and wildly gesticulating. The
engineer saw them, but it was before the day of air brakes, and it was
impossible to stop the heavy train. The engine plunged off the track,
tore up the ground and ties for a few yards, and then turned over on its
side, where it lay spouting smoke and steam, and groaning like a thing
of life. It lay partly across the track, thus completely blocking it.
The engineer and fireman had jumped, and so slowly was the train running
that the cars did not leave the track. For this Fred was devoutly
thankful. He had accomplished his object, and no one had been injured.
Jumping on his horse, he gave a shout of triumph and rode away.

But the frightened soldiers had been pouring from the cars. The two men
on horseback were pointing at Fred and yelling: "There! there goes the
villain who did it."

"Fire! fire!" thundered a colonel who had just sprung out of the
foremost car. A hundred rifles blazed. Fred's horse, was seen to stumble
slightly; the boy swayed, and leaned forward in his seat; but quickly
recovering himself, he turned around and waving his hat shouted
defiance.

[Illustration: "Fire! Fire!" thundered a Colonel who had just sprung out
of the foremost car.]

"Great heavens!" shouted a boy's voice. "That is Fred Shackelford, and
that horse is Prince." It was Calhoun Pennington who spoke. The colonel
who had given the order to fire turned pale, staggered and would have
fallen if one of his officers had not caught him.

"Merciful God!" he moaned. "I ordered my men to fire on my own son."

The officers gathered around General Buckner, who stood looking at the
wrecked engine with hopeless despair pictured in every feature. His
visions of glory had vanished, as it were, in a moment. No plaudits from
an admiring world, no "Hail! the conquering hero comes." Utter failure
was the end of the movement for which he had hoped so much. Surprise was
now impossible. It would take hours to clear away the wreck. He groaned
in the agony of his spirit, and turned away. His officers stood by in
silence; his sorrow was too great for words of encouragement.

Then a most pathetic incident occurred. Colonel Shackelford tottered up
to General Buckner, pale as death, and trembling in every limb.
"General," he gasped, "it was my boy, my son who did this. I am unworthy
to stand in your presence for bringing such a son into the world.
Cashier me, shoot me if you will. I resign my command from this moment."

The soul of the man who refused to desert his soldiers at Fort Donelson,
when those in command above him fled, who afterwards helped bear General
Grant to his tomb, with a heart as tender as that of a woman, now
asserted itself. His own terrible disappointment was forgotten in the
sorrow of his friend. Grasping the hand of Colonel Shackelford, he said
with the deepest emotion:

"Colonel, not a soldier will hold you responsible. This is a struggle
in which the noblest families are divided. If this deed had been for the
South instead of the North, you would be the proudest man in the
Confederacy. Can we not see the bravery, the heroism of the deed, even
though it has dashed our fondest hopes to the ground, shattered and
broken? No, Colonel, I shall not accept your resignation. I know you
will be as valiant for the South, as your son has been for the North."

Tears gushed from Colonel Shackelford's eyes; he endeavored to speak,
but his tongue refused to express his feelings. The officers, although
bowed down with disappointment, burst into a cheer, and there was not
one who did not feel prouder of their general in his disappointment than
if he had been successful.

How was it at Louisville during this time? General Thomas had warned
General Anderson, who had moved his headquarters to that city, that
General Buckner was contemplating an advance. But it was thought that he
would come with waving banners and with the tramp of a great army, and
that there would be plenty of time to prepare for him. Little did they
think he would try to storm the city with a train of cars, and be in
their midst before they knew it. When the train was delayed and
telegraphic communications severed, it was thought that some accident
had happened. There was not the slightest idea of the true state of
affairs. As hours passed and nothing was heard of the delayed train, a
train of discovery was sent south to find out what was the matter. This
train ran into Buckner's advance at Elizabethtown, and was seized.

Not hearing anything from this train, an engine was sent after it. Still
there was no idea of what had happened, no preparations to save
Louisville. This engine ran into Buckner's advance at Muldraugh Hill.
The fireman was a loyal man and at once grasped the situation. He leaped
from his engine and ran back. What could this one man do, miles from
Louisville, and on foot! He proved a hero. Meeting some section hands
with a handcar, he shouted: "Back! back! the road above is swarming with
rebels."

The car was turned and started for Louisville.

How those men worked! Great streams of perspiration ran down their
bodies; their breath came in gasps, and still the fireman shouted: "Work
her lively, boys, for God's sake, work her lively!"

At last Louisville was reached, and for the first time the facts known.
At once all was excitement. There was hardly a soldier in the city. Once
more the devoted Home Guards, the men who saved the city from riot and
bloodshed on July 22d, sprang to arms. General Rousseau was ordered from
across the river. He had but 1,200 men. These, with the Home Guards,
made a force of nearly 3,000 men. These men were hurried on board the
cars, and sent forward under the command of General W. T. Sherman.
Through the darkness of the night this train felt its way. On reaching
Rolling Fork of Salt River the bridge was found to be burnt. Despairing
of reaching Louisville, General Buckner had destroyed the bridge to
delay the advance of the Federal troops. The danger was over. Louisville
was once more saved. But how many American boys and girls know the name
of the daring young man who tore up the track, or the brave fireman who
brought back the news?[A]

But how was it with Fred; had he escaped unhurt from that volley?

The stumble of his horse was caused by stepping into a hole, yet slight
as the incident was, it saved Fred's life, for it threw him slightly
forward, and at the same moment a ball tore through the crown of his
hat. Another ball struck the crupper of his saddle, and another one
bored a hole through Prince's right ear.

As soon as he was out of sight Fred stopped, and, ascertaining that no
damage had been done, excepting the perforating of Prince's ear and his
hat, he patted his horse's neck and said: "Ah, Prince, old boy, you are
marked now for life, but it is all right. I shall always know you by
that little hole through your ear."

Fred stopped that night at a planter's house, who at first viewed him
with some suspicion; but when he was told of Buckner's advance, he was
so overjoyed, being an ardent Secessionist, that there was nothing good
enough for his guest.

The next day, when Fred rode into Lebanon, the first man that he saw
was Mathews, who sauntered up to him, and said in a sarcastic tone: "It
seems, young man, that you made a short visit to your poor sick
grandfather. How did you find the old gentleman?"

Fred shrugged his shoulders. "I changed my mind," he replied. "I didn't
see the old gentleman; I concluded to come back. Things are getting a
little too brisk up there for me. Buckner has advanced, and there may be
some skirmishing around Elizabethtown."

"And so you run," exclaimed Mathews in a tone which made Fred's blood
boil. All of this time Mathews had been carefully looking over the boy
and horse, and quite a crowd had collected around them.

"Ah!" continued Mathews; "a round hole through your horse's ear, been
bleeding, too; your saddle torn by a bullet, and a hole through your
hat. Boy, you had better give an account of yourself."

"Not at your command," replied Fred, hotly. "And I deny your right to
question me."

"You do, do you, my fine young fellow? I will show you," and he made a
grab for Prince's bridle.

A sharp, quick word from Fred, and the horse sprang, overthrowing
Mathews, and scattering the crowd right and left. Mathews arose, shaking
the dust from his clothes and swearing like a trooper.

A fine-looking man had just ridden up to the crowd as the incident
occurred. He looked after the flying boy, and nervously fingered the
revolver in his holster. Then a smile came over his face, and he spoke
to Mathews, who was still swearing and loudly calling for a horse to
pursue Fred.

"No use, Jim; you might as well chase a streak of lightning. That is the
fastest horse in Kentucky."

Mathews looked at the man a moment in surprise, and then exclaimed:
"Heavens! Morgan, is that you? How came you here?"

"Made a run for it night before last," replied Morgan with a laugh, "to
keep from being nabbed by old Thomas. But what was the fuss between you
and that boy? I wonder what he was doing out here any way? But, Mathews,
he did upset you nicely; I think you rolled over at least six times."

"I will be even with him yet," growled Mathews.

"Oh! I have heard half a dozen men say that, myself included. But let's
hear what the rumpus was about."

When Morgan heard the story, he said: "So Buckner is at Elizabethtown,
is he? Well, that changes my plan. I was going to Bowling Green, but now
I will change my course to Elizabethtown. But I would like to know what
that boy has been doing. From what you say he must have been in a
skirmish. Trying to throw a train off the track, perhaps; it would be
just like him."

"But, Mathews," he continued, "the boy is gone, so let us talk
business. I am going to raise a regiment of cavalry for the Confederate
service, and I want you to raise a company."

"That I will, John," said Mathews. "There is no other man I had rather
ride under."

Fred laughed heartily as he looked back and saw Mathews shaking the dust
from himself. Finding that he was not pursued he brought Prince down to
a walk. "I could almost swear," he said to himself, "that I caught a
glimpse of Morgan as I dashed through the crowd. Thomas surely ought to
have him before this time. I wonder what it means."

As he was riding through Danville he met his uncle, Judge Pennington,
who, to his surprise, greeted him most cordially, and would insist on
his stopping a while.

"Where have you been, Fred?" asked the judge.

"Over towards Elizabethtown to see my sick grandfather," replied Fred,
gravely.

"Fred, what do you mean?" asked his uncle, somewhat nettled.

"Well, uncle, I have been over towards Elizabethtown ostensibly to see
my grandfather, but really to see what I could find over there."

"And what did you find?"

"I found Buckner's men as thick as hops, and I found a warm reception
besides. Look here," and he showed his uncle the hole through his hat.
"If you will go out and look at Prince, you will find a hole through
his ear, and you will also find the saddle torn with a bullet. Oh, yes,
Buckner's men were glad to see me; they gave me a warm reception."

Judge Pennington looked grave. "Fred, are you telling the truth?"

"Yes, uncle."

"What did they fire on you for?"

"Oh, I side-tracked one of their trains."

The judge looked still graver. "Fred," said he, "you are engaging in
dangerous business. Take care, or you will hang yet. I have heard of
some of your doings. I had a visitor last night."

"What! not father, surely!"

"No, John H. Morgan."

"Then it was he I saw at Lebanon. I could hardly believe it."

"Why not, Fred?"

"Because--because--I thought--I thought he was in Lexington."

"It was because," answered the judge, severely, "that you thought he was
a prisoner at Camp Dick Robinson. Ah, Fred, you were not as sharp as you
thought. You foiled their plans; but, thank God! they have all escaped.
One good has been accomplished. All pretense of neutrality is now at an
end. These men will now be found in the ranks, fighting for the liberty
of the South. As for Morgan, he will be heard from, mark my word."

"I rather like Morgan," said Fred. "He is a daring fellow, and sharp,
too; yes, I believe he will be heard from."

"Fred, Morgan thinks you have had more to do with finding out their
plans than any other one person."

"Morgan does me too much honor," replied Fred, quietly.

The judge remained quiet for a moment, and then said: "My boy, I wish
you could have seen Morgan before you had so thoroughly committed
yourself to the other side. He has taken a great fancy to you. He
believes if he could talk with you, you might be induced to change your
mind. He says in the kind of work in which he expects to engage, you
would be worth a brigade of men. Fred, will you, will you not think of
this? You are breaking our hearts with your course now."

"Dear uncle," replied Fred, "I thank Morgan for his good opinion, and I
reciprocate his opinion; for of all the men I have met, I believe he,
most of all, has the elements of a dashing, successful leader. But as
for his offer, I cannot consider it for a moment."

The judge sighed, and Fred saw that his further presence was not
desirable, so he made his adieus, and rode away.

"So Mr. Morgan wants to win me over," thought Fred, "and that was the
reason uncle was so nice. I think this last scrape has burnt the bridges
between us, and they will trouble me no more."

Fred made his report to General Thomas, who heard it with evident
satisfaction.

"This, then, was your idea, Fred?"

"Yes, General, I in some way conceived the notion that Buckner would try
to surprise Louisville just as he did try to do. I knew that trains were
running regularly between Nashville and Louisville, and thought that a
surprise could be effected. But the idea was so vague I was ashamed to
tell you, for fear of exciting ridicule. So, I got my leave of absence
and stole off, and if nothing had come of it, no one would have been the
wiser."

General Thomas smiled, and said: "It was an idea worthy of a great
general, Fred. General Anderson has much to thank you for, as well as
the people of Louisville. But you must take a good rest now, both you
and your horse. From appearances, I think it will not be many days
before General Zollicoffer will give us plenty to do."

FOOTNOTE:

[A] The name of the gallant young man who tore up the track was
Crutcher; the author does not know the name of the fireman.



CHAPTER IX.

A LEAP FOR LIFE.


On October 7th General Anderson, at his own request, was relieved of the
command of the Department of Kentucky, on account of continued
ill-health. The next day General W. T. Sherman, a man destined to fill
an important place in the history of the war, was appointed to the
position. Both the Federal and the Confederate governments had now
thrown aside all pretense of neutrality. Kentucky echoed to the martial
tread of armed men.

At Maysville under General Nelson, at Camp Dick Robinson under General
Thomas, at Louisville under General Sherman, and at Paducah under
General Grant, the Federal government was gathering its hosts; while the
Confederate government with its troops occupied Columbus, Bowling Green,
Cumberland Gap, and the mountains of eastern Kentucky. General Albert
Sydney Johnston, one of the ablest of the Confederate generals, was in
supreme command, with headquarters at Bowling Green.

General Zollicoffer marched from Cumberland Gap early in the month, and
assumed offensive operations.

When General Sherman took command, Fred was sent by General Thomas to
Louisville with dispatches. General Sherman had heard of some of the
exploits of the young messenger, and he was received very kindly.
Sherman, at that time, was in the prime of life. Straight as an arrow,
of commanding presence, he was every inch a soldier. He was quick and
impulsive in his actions, and to Fred seemed to be a bundle of nerves.
In conversation he was open and frank and expressed his opinion freely,
in this resembling General Nelson. But the rough, overbearing nature of
Nelson he entirely lacked. He was one of the most courteous of men.

He would have Fred tell of some of his exploits, and when he gave an
account of his first journey to Louisville, and his adventure with
Captain Conway, the general was greatly pleased. Fred's account of how
he discovered the details of the plot at Lexington was received with
astonishment, and he was highly complimented. But the climax came when
he told of how he had thrown the train from the track, and thus brought
Buckner's intended surprise to naught. The general jumped up, grasped
Fred's hand, and exclaimed:

"That, young man, calls for a commission, if I can get you one, and I
think I can."

"General," replied Fred, "I thank you very much, but I do not wish a
commission. I am now comparatively free. It is true, I am hired
privately by General Nelson, and if I understand rightly I am getting
the pay of a lieutenant; but I am not bound by oath to serve any length
of time, neither could I have accomplished what I have if I had been a
regular enlisted soldier."

"You are right," said the general. "But remember, if you are ever in
need of any favor, do not hesitate to call on me."

This Fred readily promised, and left the general, highly elated over the
interview.

Before leaving Louisville, Fred did not forget to call on the Vaughns.
He found Miss Mabel well, and he thought her more beautiful than ever. A
sad, pensive look on her face but added to her loveliness. Only the day
before she had bidden her betrothed farewell, and he had marched to the
front to help fight the battles of his country. As she hung weeping
around his neck, he pointed to a little miniature flag pinned on his
breast--it was the same flag that Mabel wore on that day she was beset
by the mob--and said:

"Dearest, it shall be worn there as long as my heart beats. Never shall
it be touched by a traitorous hand as long as I live. Every time I look
upon it, it will be an incentive to prove worthy of the brave girl who
wore it on her breast in the face of a brutal mob."

Then with one fond clasp of the hands, one long lingering kiss, he was
gone; and to Mabel all the light and joy of the world seemed to go with
him.

But the coming of Fred brought new thoughts, and for the time her eyes
grew brighter, her cheeks rosier and laugh happier. The bright, brave
boy who saved her from the mob was very welcome, and to her he was only
a boy, a precious, darling boy.

They made Fred relate his adventures, and one minute Mabel's eyes would
sparkle with fun, and the next melt in tenderness. In spite of himself,
Fred's heart beat very fast, he hardly knew why. But when he told with
trembling voice how he had parted from his father, and how he had been
disowned and driven from home, the sympathy of the impulsive girl
overcame her, and with eyes swimming in tears, she arose, threw her arms
around him, imprinted a kiss on his forehead, and murmured: "Poor boy!
poor boy!" Then turning to her mother, she said, "We will adopt him,
won't we, mother, and I will have a brother."

Then remembering what she had done, she retired blushing and in
confusion to her seat. That kiss finished Fred; it thrilled him through
and through. Yet somehow the thought of being a brother to Mabel didn't
give him any satisfaction. He knew Mabel looked upon him as only a boy,
and the thought made him angry, but the next moment he was ashamed of
himself. He took his leave, promising to call the next time he was in
the city, and went away with conflicting emotions.

Fred was really suffering from an attack of first love, and didn't know
it. It was better for him that he didn't, for it was the sooner
forgotten.

On his return to Camp Dick Robinson Fred found that General Thomas had
advanced some of his troops toward Cumberland Gap. Colonel Garrard was
occupying an exposed position on the Rock Castle Hills, and Fred was
sent to him with dispatches. Fred found the little command in
considerable doubt over the movements of General Zollicoffer. One hour
the rumor would be that he was advancing, and the next hour would bring
the story that he was surely retreating. Colonel Garrard feared that he
would be attacked with a greatly superior force.

Fred resolved that he would do a little scouting on his own account.
Colonel Garrard offered to send a small party with him, but Fred
declined the offer, saying that a squad would only attract attention,
and if he ran into danger he would trust to the fleetness of his horse
to save him.

Riding east, he made a wide detour, and at last came to where he thought
he must be near the enemy's lines. In his front was a fine plantation;
near by, in the woods, some negroes were chopping. These negroes he
resolved to interview. His appearance created great consternation, and
some of them dropped their axes, and looked as if about to run.

"Don't be afraid, boys," said Fred, kindly. "I only want to know who
lives in yonder house."

"Massa Johnson, sah."

"Is he at home?"

"Not now, sah; he down to Zollicoffer camp."

"Oh, then General Zollicoffer is camped near here?"

"Yes, sah; 'bout two mile down de road."

"Do any of the soldiers ever come this way?" queried Fred.

"Yes, sah; 'bout twenty went up de road not mo' than two hours ago. Den
a capin man, he cum to see Missy Alice most ebber day."

"Thank you," said Fred, as he rode away. "I think I will pay a visit to
Missy Alice myself."

Riding boldly up to the house, he dismounted. Before entering the house
he accosted an old negro who was working in the yard, and slipping a
dollar into his hand, said:

"Uncle, if you see any one coming either way, will you cry, 'Massa, your
horse is getting away?'"

"Trus' me fo' dat," said the old man, grinning from ear to ear. "I jess
make dat hoss jump, and den I yell, 'Massa, hoss gittin' way.'"

"That's it, uncle, you are all right," and Fred turned and went into the
house, where he introduced himself as a Mr. Sandford, from Lexington. He
had friends in Zollicoffer's army, and had run the gauntlet of the
Federal lines to visit them. Could they tell him how far it was to
General Zollicoffer's camp.

The ladies received him coldly, but told him the distance. But Fred was
not to be repulsed. He was a good talker, and he tried his best. He told
them the news of the outside world, and what the Yankees were doing, and
how they would soon be driven from the State. This at once endeared him
to the ladies, especially the younger, who was a most pronounced little
rebel. Miss Alice was a comely girl, somewhere between twenty and
twenty-five years of age, and by a little but well directed flattery
Fred completely won her confidence. She inquired after some
acquaintances in Lexington, and by a happy coincidence Fred knew them,
and the conversation became animated.

At length Fred remarked: "I hope it will not be long before General
Zollicoffer will advance. We are getting anxious up at Lexington; we
want to see the Yankees driven into the Ohio."

"You will not have to wait long," replied the girl. "Captain Conway
tells me they are about ready, and will advance on the 20th or 21st----"
she stopped suddenly, bit her lip, and looked scared.

In all probability she had told something that Captain Conway had told
her to keep secret. Fred did not appear to notice her confusion, and at
once said: "Conway, Conway, Captain Conway. Is it Captain P. C. Conway
of whom you speak?"

"Yes, sir," replied the girl, brightening up.

"Why, I know him, know him like a book; in fact, we are old
friends--special friends, I may say. He would rejoice to find me here,"
and then he added mentally, "and cut my throat."

"A brilliant soldier, and a brave one, is Captain Conway," continued
Fred, "and if he is given an opportunity to distinguish himself, it will
not be long before it will be Major or Colonel Conway."

This praise pleased Miss Alice greatly, and she informed Fred that he
would soon have the pleasure of meeting his friend; that she expected
him every moment.

Fred moved somewhat uneasily in his chair. He had no desire to meet
Captain Conway, and he was about to make an excuse of going out to see
how his horse was standing, when they were startled by the old negro
running toward the house and yelling at the top of his voice: "Massa,
massa, yo' hoss is gittin' away."

The sly old fellow had thrown a stone at Prince, and the horse was
rearing and plunging.

Fred dashed out of the house; a party of horsemen was coming up the
road, in fact, was nearly to the house. It was but the work of a moment
for Fred to unhitch his horse and vault into the saddle, but the party
was now not more than fifty yards away. At the head rode Captain Conway.
They had noticed the horse hitched at the gate, and were coming at full
speed to try and surprise the owner. The moment Conway saw Fred he knew
him.

"Gods!" he cried, "Fred Shackelford, what luck!" and snatched a pistol
from the holster and fired. The ball whistled past Fred's head
harmlessly, and he turned in the saddle and returned the fire. It was
the first time he had ever shot at a man, and even in the heat of
excitement he experienced a queer sensation, a sinking of the heart, as
though he were committing a crime.

Fairly and squarely the ball from his revolver struck the horse of
Captain Conway in the forehead, and the animal fell dead, the rider
rolling in the dust.

Immediately all was excitement. His men stopped the pursuit, and,
dismounting, gathered around the captain, thinking he was killed.

But he sprang to his feet, shouting: "A hundred dollars to the one who
will take that young devil, dead or alive. Here, Corporal Smith, you
have a fleet horse, let me take him," and jumping into the saddle, he
was in pursuit, followed by all his men, except Corporal Smith, who
stood in the road looking after them.

"What does it mean? What does it mean?" asked the two ladies, who stood
on the veranda, wringing their hands, and very much excited.

"Blamed if I know," answered the corporal. "The sight of that young chap
seemed to make the captain kinder crazy. The moment he caught sight of
him, he called him by name, and banged away at him."

"You say the captain called him by name?"

"Yes."

"Well, he said he knew the captain, and that he was one of his best
friends. I can't understand it."

The corporal had no explanation to offer, so went and took a look at the
captain's horse. "Bang up shot," he remarked. "Right between the eyes."

In the meantime the pursued and the pursuers had passed out of sight up
the road, enveloped in a cloud of dust.

"Remember, boys," shouted Conway, "a hundred dollars to the one who
brings him down. Don't attempt to take him alive. Shoot him! shoot him!"

But it was nothing but play for Fred to distance them, and he laughed to
think that they expected to catch him. But the laugh suddenly died on
his lips; he turned pale, and glanced hurriedly to the right and left. A
high rail fence ran on each side of the road. The scouting party of
which the negroes spoke was returning. Fred was between the two parties.

Captain Conway saw the other party, and shouted in triumph.

"Now, boys, we have him," and he spurred his horse forward, revolver in
hand. There was a look of malignant hatred on his face, and he muttered:
"Now, my boy, I will settle scores with you. I shall never take you back
to camp. 'Captured a spy, killed while trying to escape.' Ha! ha! how
will that sound!"

As for Fred, even in his extremity, his courage or his presence of mind
never deserted him. He felt that to be captured by Conway was death, for
had not the captain sworn to kill him on sight? His mind was made up; he
would wheel and charge the captain's party. He would at least die
fighting. Just as he was about to do this, he espied an opening in the
fence on the left. As quick as thought he dashed through it, thinking it
might afford a chance of escape. Too late he saw his mistake. The field
was a perfect cul-de-sac, bounded on all sides by a high rail fence, the
only opening the one he had come through.

Through this opening the enemy poured, and when they saw the trap which
Fred had entered, their shouts made the welkin ring. They were sure of
their prey. Their shouts rang in Fred's ears like the tolling of a
funeral bell. So must the bay of hounds sound in the ears of the hunted
quarry.

Fred looked at the fence ahead of him. It was built of heavy rails, and
full seven feet high. He rode straight for it. Bending over his horse's
neck, Fred said: "Prince, it is a question of life or death. Do your
best, old fellow; we can but fail."

The horse seemed to understand. He never faltered, never swerved. With
distended nostrils, eyes flashing with excitement, and every muscle
quivering, he gathered himself for the mighty spring. As lightly as a
bird he cleared the fence, staggered as he struck the ground on the
other side, then on again like the wind.

Fred turned in his saddle, and uttered a yell of defiance.

"Fire!" shrieked Conway. But the hands of his troopers were unsteady,
and the shots went wild. Before his men could dismount and throw down
the fence, Fred was beyond pursuit. Captain Conway fairly foamed at the
mouth. He raved and swore like a madman.

"It's no use swearing, Captain," said a grizzled lieutenant. "I thought
I knew something about horses, but that beat any leap I ever saw. Gad!
I would rather have the horse than the boy."

"Howly Virgin! it's the divil's own lape," said an Irishman in the
company, and he crossed himself.

The baffled troopers returned crestfallen and cross. Captain Conway was
so out of temper that even when the ladies asked him if his fall hurt
him, he answered angrily.

"Captain," said Alice, somewhat ruffled by his manner, "what is it
between that boy and you? He said he knew you, was in fact a dear friend
of yours, but you no sooner saw him than you shot at him; and Corporal
Smith says you called him by name, so you did know him."

"Alice," replied the captain, "I do not intend to be rude, but I am all
put out. That boy is a spy, a mean, sneaking spy. He should be hanged.
It was he that discovered our plot at Lexington."

The girl held up her hands in dismay. "And I told him----" She stopped
suddenly.

"Told him what?" demanded Conway.

"Oh! nothing, nothing; only what a good fellow you were."

The captain looked at her sharply, and said: "It is well you gave away
no secrets."

Fred made his way back to camp with a thankful heart. He told Colonel
Garrard of the intended attack, and then started back for the
headquarters of General Thomas. It was a long and hard ride, and it was
well in the small hours of the night when he arrived. The general was
aroused and the news of the expected attack told. He quietly wrote a
couple of orders, and went back to his bed. One order was to General
Schoepf to at once march his brigade to the relief of Colonel Garrard at
Rock Castle. The other was sent to Colonel Connell at Big Hill to move
his regiment to Rock Castle, instead of advancing toward London as
ordered.

Both orders were obeyed, and both commands were in position on the 20th.
General Zollicoffer made his expected attack on the 21st, and was easily
repulsed. The battle was a small one; nothing but a skirmish it would
have been called afterwards; but to the soldiers engaged at that time,
it looked like a big thing. It greatly encouraged the Federal soldiers,
and correspondingly depressed the soldiers of Zollicoffer's army.

Fred got back to Rock Castle in time to see the battle. It was his first
sight of dead and wounded soldiers. And as he looked on the faces of the
dead, their sightless eyes upturned to heaven, and the groans of the
wounded sounding in his ears, he turned sick at heart, and wondered why
men created in the image of God would try to kill and maim each other.
And yet, a few moments before, he himself was wild with the excitement
of battle, and could scarcely be restrained from rushing into it.

The next day the army advanced, and passed the place where Fred met
with his adventure, and he thought he would make another visit to Miss
Alice Johnson. But that young lady gave him a cold reception. She called
him a "miserable, sneaking Yankee," and turned her back on him in
disgust. He didn't hear the last of his call on Miss Johnson.

Fred pointed out the place where his horse had leaped the fence, and
officers and men were astonished, and Prince became as much a subject of
praise as his rider. It was a common saying among the soldiers as he
rode by, "There goes the smartest boy and best horse in Kentucky."

When Fred returned to Camp Dick Robinson, he found a letter awaiting him
from General Nelson. The general was making a campaign against a portion
of the command of General Humphrey Marshall in the mountains of Eastern
Kentucky, and wrote that if Fred could possibly come to him to do so.

"Of course; go at once," said General Thomas, when the letter was shown
him. "I am sorry to lose you, but I think Zollicoffer will be rather
quiet for a while, and General Nelson has the first claim on you. I
shall always be grateful to you for the service you have rendered me. I
trust that it is but the beginning of still closer relations in the
future."

It was fated that General Thomas and Fred were to be much together
before the war closed.



CHAPTER X.

IN THE HANDS OF THE ENEMY.


To his dismay, Fred noticed that the letter of General Nelson was dated
the 10th of October, and it was now the last of the month. For some
reason the letter had been greatly delayed.

It was known that Nelson was already in the mountains of Eastern
Kentucky; therefore no time was to be lost if Fred joined him. Much to
his regret, Fred had to leave Prince behind. Afterwards he blessed his
stars that he did, for if he had taken the horse he would have lost him
forever.

Fred traveled to Cincinnati by rail, and then by boat up the Ohio to
Maysville. He found that Nelson had not only been gone from Maysville
for some days, but that there was no direct line of communication with
his army. Nothing daunted, he determined to follow, and procuring a
horse, he started on his journey alone and unattended, and against the
advice of the officer in command at Maysville.

"Wait," said that officer, "until we send forward a train. It will be
strongly guarded, and you will escape all danger of capture."

But Fred would not wait. He believed it to be his duty to join Nelson
as soon as possible. By hard riding, he reached Hazel Green on the
evening of the second day, and without adventure. Here he learned that
Nelson's command had left the place only two days before, and was now
supposed to be at or near Prestonburg, and there were rumors of fighting
at that place.

The next morning Fred pressed forward in high spirits, thinking he would
overtake at least the rear of Nelson's army by night. Along in the
afternoon four cavalrymen suddenly confronted him, blocking the road.

As they all had on the blue Federal overcoat, Fred had not the remotest
idea but that they belonged to Nelson's army, and riding boldly up to
them asked how far the command was in advance.

"What command?" asked one of the party, who appeared to be the leader.

"Why, Nelson's command, of course," replied Fred, in surprise. But the
words were hardly out of his mouth before four revolvers were leveled on
him, and he was commanded to surrender. There was no alternative but to
submit as gracefully as possible.

"Now, boys," said the leader, "we will see what we have captured.
Examine him."

It must be borne in mind that Fred was dressed in civilian clothes, and
therefore could not be taken prisoner as a soldier.

The soldiers, after going through his pockets, handed the contents to
their leader.

"Ah," said that personage with a wicked grin, "young man, you may go
along with us to Colonel Williams. For aught I know, these letters may
hang you," and filing off from the Prestonburg road, they took a rough
mountain road for Piketon.

Fred afterward found that the four soldiers were a scouting party that
had got in the rear of Nelson's army in the hopes of picking up some
stragglers, their only reward being himself. As was said, the party
consisted of four. The leader, Captain Bascom, was a hooked-nosed,
ferret-eyed man, who frequently took deep draughts from a canteen
containing what was familiarly known as "mountain dew"--whisky distilled
by the rough mountaineers. Being half-drunk all the time added intensity
to a naturally cruel, tyrannical disposition.

One of the soldiers named Drake was a burly, red-faced fellow, who
seemed to be a boon companion of the captain; at least one took a drink
as often as the other. Another of the soldiers answered to the name of
Lyle; he was a gloomy, taciturn man, and said little. The remaining one
of Fred's captors was a mere boy, not older than himself. He was a
bright-eyed, intelligent looking fellow, tough and muscular, and from
his conversation vastly above the station in life of his comrades before
he enlisted. It was not long before Fred discovered that Captain Bascom
took delight in worrying the boy, whose name was Robert Ferror. In this
he was followed to a greater or less extent by Drake. Not only this,
but when they stopped for the night at the rude home of a mountaineer,
Fred noticed that Bob, as all called him, was the drudge of the party.
He not only had to care for the captain's horse, but to perform menial
service, even to cleaning the mud from the captain's boots. As he was
doing this, Bob caught Fred looking at him, and coloring to the roots of
his hair, he trembled violently. It was evident that he felt himself
degraded by his work, but seeing a look of pity in Fred's eyes, he
fiercely whispered, "My mother's niggers used to do this for me," and
then he cast such a look of hate on Captain Bascom that Fred shuddered.
There was murder in that look.

It was not until the evening of the second day of his capture that
Piketon was reached. Along in the afternoon, away to the left, firing
was heard, and every now and then, the deep boom of cannon reverberated
through the valleys and gorges. Nelson was advancing on Piketon. It made
Fred sick at heart to think that his friends were so near, and yet so
far.

The knowledge that the Confederates were being driven seemed to anger
Bascom, and he drank oftener than usual. Noticing that Bob was talking
to Fred as they were riding along, he turned back and struck the boy
such a cruel blow in the face that he was knocked from his horse.

By order of Bascom, Drake and Lyle dismounted, picked Bob up, wiped the
blood from his face, and after forcing some whisky down his throat,
placed him on his horse. At first he seemed dazed and could not guide
his horse. He gradually came to himself, and when he looked at Bascom
Fred saw that same murderous look come over his face which he had
noticed once before. "Bascom has cause to fear that boy," thought Fred.

When the party rode into Piketon they found everything in the utmost
confusion. Preparations were being made to evacuate the place. The
soldiers who had been in the fight came streaming back, bringing with
them their wounded and a few prisoners. They reported thousands and
thousands of Yankees coming. This added to the confusion and the
demoralization of the troops.

The prisoners were thrown, for the night, in a building used as a jail.
It was of hewn logs, without windows or doors, being entered through the
roof, access being had to the roof by an outside stairway, then by a
ladder down in the inside. When all were down, the ladder was drawn up,
and the opening in the roof closed. The place was indescribably filthy,
and Fred always wondered how he lived through the night. When morning
came and the ladder was put down for them to ascend, each and every one
thanked the Lord the rebels were to retreat, and that their stay in the
noisome hole was thus ended. With gratitude they drank in mouthfuls of
the fresh air.

The whole place was in a frenzy of excitement. Commissary stores they
were not able to carry away were given to the flames. Every moment the
advance of Nelson's army was expected. But as time passed, and no army
appeared the panic somewhat subsided and something like order was
restored.

That night, the retreating army camped in a pine forest at the base of a
mountain. The night was cold and rainy. Black clouds swept across the
sky, the wind howled mournfully through the forest, and the cold
pitiless rain chilled to the bone. Huge fires were kindled, and around
them the men gathered to dry their streaming clothes and to warm their
benumbed limbs.

Just before the prisoners were made to lie down to sleep, the boy,
Robert Ferror, passed by Fred, and said in a low whisper:

"I will be on guard to-night. Keep awake! Lie down near the guard."

Fred's heart beat high. Was Robert Ferror going to aid him to escape? He
watched where the guard over the prisoners was stationed, and lay down
as close to him as possible. Soon he was apparently fast asleep, but he
was never wider awake. At eleven o'clock Robert Ferror came on guard. He
looked eagerly around, and Fred, to show him where he was slightly
raised his head. The boy smiled, and placed his finger on his lips.
Slowly Ferror paced his beat, to and fro. The minutes dragged slowly by.
Midnight came. The officer of the guard made his rounds. Ferror's answer
was, "All is well." Another half-hour passed; still he paced to and
fro. Fred's heart sank. After all, was Ferror to do nothing, or were his
words a hoax to raise false hopes? The camp had sunk to rest; the fires
were burning low. Then as Ferror passed Fred, he slightly touched him
with his foot. Instantly Fred was all alert. The next time Ferror passed
he stooped as if he had dropped something, and as he was fumbling on the
ground, whispered:

"Crawl back like a snake. About fifty yards to the rear is a large pine
tree. It is out of the range of the light of the fires. By it you will
find arms. Stay there until I come."

Again the sentinel paced to and fro. It would have taken a lynx's eye to
have noticed that one of the prisoners was missing, so silently had Fred
made his way back.

One o'clock came, and Ferror was relieved. Five, ten, fifteen minutes
passed, and still Fred was waiting. Had anything happened to Ferror?
there had been no alarm.

"I will wait a little longer," thought Fred, "and then if he does not
come, I will go by myself."

Soon a light footstep was heard, and Fred whispered, "Here."

A hand was stretched out, and Fred took it. It was as cold as death, and
shook like one with the palsy. "He is quaking with fear," thought Fred.

"Have you got the revolver and cartridge belt?" asked Ferror, in a
hoarse whisper.

"Yes."

"Then come." He still seemed to be quaking as with ague.

Silently Ferror led the way, Fred following. Slowly feeling their way
through the darkness, they had gone some distance when they were
suddenly commanded to halt.

"Who comes there?" asked a stern voice. Ferror gave a start of surprise,
and then answered:

"A friend with the countersign."

"Advance, friend, and give the countersign."

Ferror boldly advanced, leaned forward as if to whisper the word in the
ear of the guard. Then there was a flash, a loud report, and with a moan
the soldier sank to the ground.

"Come," shrieked Ferror, and Fred, horrified, sprang forward. Through
the woods, falling over rocks, running against trees, they dashed, until
at last they had to stop from sheer exhaustion.

The camp was in a wild commotion. Shouts and oaths filled the air. Men
were heard crashing through the forest, escaping as they thought from an
unseen foe. But when no attack came, and no other shot was heard, the
confusion and excitement began to abate, and every one was asking, "What
is it?" No one knew.

"The sound of the shot came from that direction," said the soldier who
had taken the place of Ferror as guard.

"There is where I stationed Drake," said the officer of the guard. "I
discovered a path leading up the mountain, and I concluded to post a
sentinel on it. Sergeant, make a detail, and come with me."

The detail was made, and they filed out in the darkness in the direction
that Drake was stationed.

"We must have gone far enough," said the officer. "It was about here I
stationed him. Drake! Drake!" There was no response.

"Strange!" said the officer. "It is not possible he has deserted, is
it?"

He was groping around when he stumbled over something on the ground. He
reached out his hand, and touched the lifeless body of Drake. A cry of
horror burst from him. The body was taken up and carried back to camp.
The officer bent over and examined it by the firelight.

"Shot through the heart," he muttered; "and, by heavens! his clothes are
powder burned. Drake was shot not by some prowler, but by some one
inside the lines. Sergeant, count the prisoners."

The prisoners, who had all been aroused by the commotion, were huddled
together, quaking with fear.

The sergeant soon reported: "Lieutenant, there is one missing; the boy
in citizen's clothes."

Colonel Williams, who had been looking on with stern countenance, now
asked:

"Who was guarding the prisoners?" The colonel's tones were low and
ominous.

"Scott, sir," replied the sergeant of the guard.

"Scott, here!" Poor Scott came trembling in every limb.

"Colonel," said Scott, shaking so he could hardly talk, "before God, I
know nothing about the escape of the prisoner. I had not been on guard
more than ten or fifteen minutes before the shot was fired. Up to that
time, not a prisoner had stirred."

"Did you notice the boy?"

"No, Colonel, I did not. I do not know whether he escaped before I came
on guard or after the alarm. The sergeant will bear me witness that
during the alarm I stayed at my post and kept the prisoners from
escaping. The boy might have slipped away in the confusion, but I do not
think he did."

"Whom did you relieve?" asked the colonel.

"Robert Ferror."

"Call Ferror."

The sergeant soon returned with the information that Ferror could not be
found.

The colonel bit his lip. He cast his eye over the group of officers
standing around him, and then suddenly asked: "Where is Captain Bascom?"

The officers looked blank, then inquiringly into each other's faces. No
one had seen him during or since the alarm.

The sergeant of the guard hurriedly went to a rude tent where the
captain slept. Pulling aside a blanket which served as a door he entered
the tent. A moment, and he reappeared with face as white as a sheet.

"He is dead!" his ashen lips shaped the words, but they died away in a
gurgle in his throat.

Captain Bascom had been stabbed through the heart.

The whole turmoil in camp was heard by Fred and Robert Ferror, as they
stood panting for breath. Fred shuddered as the horrified cry of the
officer of the day was borne to his ears when he stumbled on the dead
body of the guard. The boys were bruised and bleeding, and their
clothing was torn in shreds from their flight through the forest.

"It is all right now," said Ferror. "They can never find us in the
darkness, but some of the frightened fools may come as far as this; so
we had better be moving."

The boys slowly and painfully worked their way up the mountain, and at
last the roar of the camp was no longer heard. They came to a place
where the jutting rocks formed a sort of a cave, keeping out the rain,
and the ground and leaves were comparatively dry. The place was also
sheltered from the wind.

"Let us stay here," said Fred, "until it gets a little light. We can
then more easily make our way. We are entirely out of danger for
to-night."

To this Ferror assented, and the two boys crept as far back as they
could and snuggled down close together. Fred noticed that Ferror still
trembled, and that his hands were still as cold as ice.

The storm had ceased, but the wind sobbed and moaned through the trees
like a thing of life, sighing one moment like a person in anguish, and
then wailing like a lost soul. An owl near by added its solemn hootings
to the already dismal night. Fred felt Ferror shudder and try to creep
still closer to him. Both boys remained silent for a long time, but at
length Fred said:

"Ferror, shooting that sentinel was awful. I had almost rather have
remained a prisoner. It was too much like murder."

"I did not know the sentinel was there," answered Ferror, "or I could
have avoided him. As it was, it had to be done. It was a case of life or
death. Fred, do you know who the sentinel was?"

"No."

"It was Drake; I saw his face by the flash of my pistol, just for a
second, but it was enough. God! I can see it now," and he shuddered.

"Fred, do you despise me? You know I helped you to escape."

"No, Ferror; if I had been in your place, I might have done the same,
but that would have made it none the less horrible."

"Fred, you will despise me; but I must tell you."

"Tell what?"

"Drake is not the first man I have killed to-night."

Fred sprang up and involuntarily drew away from him. "Ferror! Ferror!
What do you mean?"

"After I was relieved from guard, and before I joined you, I stabbed
Captain Bascom through the heart."

A low cry of horror escaped Fred's lips.

"Listen to my story, Fred, and then despise me as a murderer if you
will. You saw how Captain Bascom treated me. No slave was ever treated
worse. My mother is a widow, residing in Tazewell county, Virginia. I am
an only son, but I have two lovely sisters. I was always headstrong,
liking my own way. Of course, I was humored and petted. When the war
broke out I was determined to enlist. My mother and sisters wept and
prayed, and at last I promised to wait. But about two months ago I was
down at Abingdon, and was asked to take a glass of wine. I think it was
drugged, for when I came to myself I found that I was an enlisted
soldier. Worse than all, I found that this man Bascom was an officer in
the company to which I belonged. Bascom is a low-lived, drunken brute.
He used to live in our neighborhood. Mother had him arrested for theft
and sent to jail. When he got out, he left the neighborhood, but swore
he would have revenge on every one of the name. He surely has had it on
me. I think he was in hopes that by brutal treatment he could make me
desert, so he could have me shot if captured. When he struck me the
other day, when I spoke to you, I resolved then and there to kill him."

"I know," replied Fred, in a low tone. "I saw it in your face."

"God only knows what I have suffered from the hands of that man during
the last two months. I have had provocation enough to kill him a
thousand times."

"I know, I know," replied Fred; "but to kill him in his sleep. I would
not have blamed you if you had shot him down when he gave you that blow.
I should have done so."

"It would have been best," sobbed Ferror, for the first time giving way
to his feelings. "Oh, mother, what will you think of your boy!" Then he
said, chokingly: "Fred, don't desert me, don't despise me; I can't bear
it. I believe if you turn from me now, I shall become one of the most
desperate of criminals."

"No, Ferror," said Fred; "I will neither desert nor judge you. You have
done something I had rather lose my life than do. But for the present
our fortunes are linked together. If we are captured, both will suffer
an ignominious death. Therefore, much as I abhor your act, I cannot
divorce myself from the consequences. Then let us resolve, come what
may, we will never be taken alive."

Ferror grasped Fred's hand, and pressing it fervently, replied: "If we
are captured, it will only be my dead body which will be taken, even if
I have to send a bullet through my own heart."

After this the boys said little, and silently waited for the light.
With the first gleam of the morning, they started on their way, thinking
only of getting as far as possible from the scene of that night of
horror.

As the sun arose, the mountains and then the valleys were flooded with
its golden light. At any other time the glorious landscape spread out
before them would have filled Fred's soul with delight; but as it was,
he only eagerly scanned the road which ran through the valley, hoping to
catch sight of Nelson's advancing columns. But no such sight greeted
him.

"They will surely come before long," said Fred. "By ten o'clock we
should be inside of the Federal lines and safe."

But if Fred had heard what was passing in the Rebel camp he would not
have been so sanguine.

Lieutenant Davis, officer of the guard, and Colonel Williams were in
close consultation.

"Colonel," said the lieutenant, "I do not believe the Yankees are
pursuing us. Those boys will take it for granted that we will continue
our retreat, and will soon come down off the mountains into the road.
Let me take a couple of companies of cavalry, and I will station men in
ambush along the road as far back as it is safe to go. In this way I
believe we stand a chance to catch them."

The colonel consented, and, therefore, before the sun had lighted up the
valley, pickets had been placed along the road for several miles back.

The boys trailed along the mountain side until nearly noon, but the
sides of the mountain were so seamed and gashed they made slow progress.
Gaining a high point, they looked towards Piketon, and in the far
distance saw an advancing column of cavalry. The sight filled them with
delight.

"There is nothing to be seen to the south," said Fred. "I think we can
descend to the road in safety." So they cautiously made their way down
to the road.

"Let us look well to our arms," said Fred. "We must be prepared for any
emergency."

So their revolvers were carefully examined, fresh caps put in, and every
precaution taken. They came out on the road close to a little valley
farm. In front of the cabin stood a couple of horses hitched. After
carefully looking at the horses, Ferror said: "Fred, one of those horses
belongs to Lieutenant Davis. He has ridden back to see if he could not
catch sight of us. Nelson's men will soon send him back flying."

Then a wild idea took possession of the boys. It was no less than to try
and get possession of the horses. Wouldn't it be grand to enter the
Federal lines in triumph, riding the horses of their would-be captors!
Without stopping to think of the danger, they at once acted on the idea.

From the cabin came sounds of laughter mingled with the music of women's
voices. The men inside were being pleasantly entertained.

Getting near the horses, the boys made a dash, were on their backs in a
twinkling, and with a yell of triumph were away. The astonished
officers rushed to the door, only to see them disappear down the road.
Then they raged like madmen, cursing their fortunes, and calling down
all sorts of anathemas on the boys.

"Never mind," at last said Sergeant Jones, who was the lieutenant's
companion in misfortune, "the squad down the road will catch them."

"Poor consolation for the disgrace of having our horses stolen," snapped
the lieutenant.

The elation of the boys came to a sudden ending. In the road ahead of
them stood a squad of four horsemen. Involuntarily the boys checked the
speed of their horses. They looked into each other's faces, they read
each other's thoughts.

"It can only be death," said Fred.

"It can only be death," echoed Ferror, "and I welcome it. I know, Fred,
you look on me as a murderer. I want to show you how I can die in a fair
fight."

Fred hardly realized what Ferror was saying; he was debating a plan of
attack.

"Ferror," he said, "let us ride leisurely forward until we get within
about fifty yards of them. No doubt they know the horses, and will be
nonplused as to who we are. When we are close we will charge. It will be
all over in a moment--safety or death."

Ferror nodded. He was as pale as his victims of the night before, but
his eyes blazed, his teeth were set hard, every muscle was strained.

Just as Fred turned to say, "Now!" Ferror shouted, "Good-bye, Fred,"
and dashed straight for the horsemen. The movement was so sudden it left
Fred slightly behind. The revolvers of the four Confederates blazed, but
like a thunderbolt Ferror was on them. The first man and horse went down
like a tenpin before the ball of the bowler; the second, and boy and man
and both horses went down in an indistinguishable mass together.

As for Fred, not for a second did he lose command of himself or his
horse. He saw what was coming, and swerved to the right. Here a single
Confederate confronted him. This man's attention had been attracted for
a moment to the fate of his comrades in the road, and before he knew it
Fred was on him. He raised his smoking revolver to fire, but Fred's
revolver spoke first, and the soldier reeled and fell from his saddle.

The road was now open for Fred to escape, but he wheeled his horse and
rode back to see what had become of his comrade. One Confederate still
sat on his horse unhurt. Seeing Fred, he raised his pistol and fired.
Fred felt his left arm grow numb, and then a sensation like that of hot
water running down the limb. Before the soldier could fire the second
time, a ball from Fred's pistol crashed through his brain, and he fell,
an inert mass, in the road. The fight was over.

Of the two Confederates overthrown in the wild charge of Ferror, one was
dead, the other was untouched by bullets, but lay groaning with a
broken leg and arm. Fred turned his attention to Ferror. He lay partly
under his horse, his eyes closed, his bosom stained with blood.

Fred raised his head. "Ferror! Ferror!" he cried, with burning tears.

[Illustration: Fred raised his Head, "Ferror! Ferror!" he cried.]

The boy opened his eyes and smiled. "It's all right, Fred--all right,"
he gasped. "That was no murder--that was a fair fight, wasn't it?"

"Oh, Ferror! Ferror!" moaned Fred. "You must not die."

"It is better as it is, Fred. I will not have that to think of."

He closed his eyes, and when he opened them again it was with a far-away
look. He tried to raise himself. "Yes, mother," he whispered, and then
his eyes closed forever.

The clatter of horses' hoofs, and the clang of sabers were now heard.
Fred looked up; a party of Federal cavalry was bearing down upon him.
They looked on the bloody scene in astonishment. A dashing young captain
rode up. Fred pointed to young Ferror's lifeless body, and said: "Bring
his body back to Piketon with you. He gave his life for me. I am one of
General Nelson's scouts."

Then everything grew black before him, and he knew no more. He had
fainted from the loss of blood.

The rough troopers bound up his arm, staunched the flow of blood, and
soon Fred was able to ride to Piketon. General Nelson received him with
astonishment; yet he would not let him talk, but at once ordered him to
the hospital. As for Robert Ferror, he was given a soldier's burial.

A year after the war closed, Frederic Shackelford, a stalwart young man,
sought out the home of Mrs. Ferror. He found a gray-haired,
brokenhearted mother and two lovely young ladies, her daughters. They
had mourned the son and brother, not only as dead, but as forever
disgraced, for they had been told that Robert had been shot for
desertion.

Fred gave them the little mementoes he had kept through the years for
them. He told them how Robert had given his life to try and save him,
and that the last word that trembled on his lips was "Mother."

The gray-haired mother lifted her trembling hands, and thanked God that
her son had at least died the death of a soldier.

Learning that the family had been impoverished by the war, when Fred
left, he slipped $1,000 in Mrs. Ferror's hand, and whispered, "For
Robert's sake;" and the stricken mother, through tear-dimmed eyes,
watched his retreating form, and murmured: "And Robert would have been
just such a man if he had lived."



CHAPTER XI.

CRAZY BILL SHERMAN.


Fred's wound was not a dangerous one. The ball had gone through the
fleshy part of the arm, causing a great loss of blood; but no bones were
broken, and it was only a question of a few weeks before he would be as
well as ever.

The story of the two boys charging four Confederate cavalrymen, killing
three, and disabling the fourth was the wonder of the army. But Fred
modestly disclaimed any particular bravery in the affair.

"It is to poor Bob Ferror that the honor should be given," he would say;
"the boy that knowingly rode to his death that I might be saved."

Fred gave General Nelson the particulars of his capture and escape, and
the general looked grave and said:

"If I had known I was going to place you in such extreme danger, I
should not have sent for you. On account of the crime of young Ferror,
you would have met with a most ignominious death if you had been
recaptured; yet the charging on those four cavalrymen was one of the
pluckiest things I have heard of during the war. You deserve and shall
have a good rest. I have just finished making up some dispatches for
General Sherman, and you shall be my messenger. A dispatch boat leaves
in the morning, and you shall go with it. When you get to Catlettsburg,
you can take an Ohio river steamer for Louisville. The trip being all by
water, will be an easy one, and as a number of sick and wounded will be
sent away on the same boat, you will have good surgical attendance for
your wounded arm. Here is a paper that will admit you to the officers'
hospital when you get to Louisville. Take a good rest, you need it. I do
not think it will be long before I, with my command, will be ordered
back to Louisville. The enemy has retreated through Pound Gap into
Virginia, and there is nothing more for me to do here. Stay in
Louisville until you hear from me."

The next morning found Fred on his way down the Big Sandy. The whole
voyage was uneventful, and after a quick trip Fred once more found
himself in Louisville. The rest and quiet of the voyage had almost cured
the ill-effects of his experience, and with the exception of his wounded
arm, which he was compelled to carry in a sling, he was feeling about as
well as ever.

Once in Louisville, he lost no time in turning over his dispatches to
General Sherman. He found the general surrounded by a delegation of the
prominent Union men of the city. They seemed to be arguing with Sherman
about something, and as for the general, he was in a towering rage, and
was swearing in a manner equal to General Nelson in one of his outbreaks
of anger.

Fred was surprised to find the usually mild and gentlemanly officer in
such a passion, but there was no mistake, he was angry clear through.

"There is no use talking, gentlemen," he was saying, as he paced the
room with quick nervous tread, "I am not only going to resign, but I
have already sent in my resignation. I will not remain in command of the
Department of Kentucky another day; the command of the armies of the
United States would not induce me to remain and be insulted and outraged
as I have been."

"We are very sorry to hear it, General," replied the spokesman of the
delegation. "We had great hopes of what you would accomplish when you
were appointed to the command of the department, and our confidence in
you is still unabated."

"I am thankful," replied the general, "for that confidence, but what can
you expect of a man bound hand and foot. They seem to know a great deal
better in Washington what we need here than we do who are on the ground.
This, in a measure, is to be expected; but to be reviled and insulted is
more than I can stand. But if I had not resigned, I should be removed, I
know that. Just let the newspapers begin howling at a general, and
denouncing him, and every official at Washington begins shaking in his
boots. What can be expected of a general with every newspaper in the
land yelping at his heels like a pack of curs? If I wanted to end this
war quickly, I would begin by hanging every editor who would publish a
word on how the war should be conducted. It would be a glorious
beginning."

"Are you not a little too severe on the newspaper fraternity, General?"
mildly put in one of the citizen delegates.

"Severe! severe! not half as severe as the idiots deserve. They think
they know more about war, and how to conduct campaigns than all the
military men of the country combined. Not satisfied with telling me how
and when to conduct a campaign, they attack me most unjustly and
cruelly, attack me in such a manner I cannot reply. Just listen to
this," and the general turned and took up a scrapbook in which numerous
newspaper clippings had been pasted. "Here is an editorial from that
esteemed and influential paper, _The Cincinnati Commerce_," and the
general read:

"'It is a lamentable fact that many of our generals are grossly
incompetent, but when incipient insanity is added to incompetency, it is
time to cry a halt. Right here at home, the general who commands the
Department of Kentucky and therefore has the safety of our city in his
hands, is W. T. Sherman. We have it on the most reliable evidence that
he is of unsound mind. Not only do many of his sayings excite the pity
of his friends and ridicule of his enemies, but they are positively
dangerous to the success of our cause. The Government should at least
put the department in charge of a general of sound mind.'

"Now, if that is not enough," continued the general, with a touch of
irony in his tones, "I will give you a choice clipping from the great
_New York Tricate_.

"'It is with sorrow that we learn that General W. T. Sherman, who is in
command of the Department of Kentucky, is not in his right mind. It is
said that the authorities at Washington have been aware of this for some
time, but for political reasons fear to remove him. He is a brother of
John Sherman, one of the influential politicians of Ohio, and United
States Senator-elect. While the affair is to be regretted, the
Government should not hesitate on account of political influence.
General Sherman should be at once removed. That he is mentally unsound
is admitted, even by his best friends. Let the administration act at
once.'"

The whole company was smiling at the absurdity of the affair. Even the
general had to laugh.

"I will read once more," said the general. "It is from the _Chicago
Timer_, and hits others as well as myself. Here it is:

"'General Bill Sherman, in command of the Department of Kentucky, is
said to be insane. We don't doubt it. In our mind the whole Lincoln
Government, from President down, is insane--insane over the idea that
they can coerce the South back into the Union. The only difference that
we can see is that Bill Sherman may be a little crazier than the rest;
that's all.'

"There," continued the general, "are only a few of the scores of
extracts which I have from the most influential papers in the land. Of
course the smaller papers have taken their cue from the larger ones, and
now the whole pack of little whiffets are after me, snapping at my
heels; and the good people believe the story because it is published.
Hundreds of letters are being received at Washington, asking for my
removal. My brother writes that he is overwhelmed with inquiries
concerning me. I believe the War Department more than half believes I am
of unsound mind. They are only waiting for an excuse to get rid of me,
and I know that my resignation will be received with joy."

"General," asked one of the citizens present, "have you any idea of how
the story of your insanity started?"

"Oh, yes!" replied the general. "When Secretary of War Cameron was here,
I laid before him the wants of Kentucky, and among other things said
that I needed 60,000 men for defensive work, but for offensive
operations I should need 200,000. The Secretary spoke of it as an
'insane request.' Some reporter got hold of it, and then it went. The
Secretary has never taken the pains to correct the impressions."

"Were you not a little extravagant in your demands?" asked another
citizen.

"Not at all. The politicians at Washington have never yet recognized
the magnitude of the war in which we are engaged. Then their whole life
is office, and they are afraid of doing something that will lose them a
vote. As for the newspapers, they would rather print a sensation than
have us win a victory. My God! They have called me crazy so much they
have alarmed my wife," and the general again indulged in another burst
of anger. When he became calmer, he said: "Gentlemen, I thank you for
your expressions of sympathy and confidence. I trust my successor will
be more worthy than I," and he bowed the delegation out.

Fred remained standing. The general noticed him, and asked: "Well, my
boy, what is it? Why, bless my soul, it's Fred Shackelford! Just from
General Nelson, Fred?"

"Yes, General, with dispatches," and he handed them to him.

"I will read them when I cool off a little; I have been rather warm. I
see your arm is in a sling; been in a skirmish?"

"Yes, General, a small one. The wound didn't amount to much; it is
nearly well."

"You should be thankful it is no worse. Come in in the morning, Fred; I
will have the dispatches read by that time."

Fred called, as requested, the next morning, and found the general calm
and courteous as ever. The storm had passed away.

"General Nelson writes good news," said Sherman. "He reports he has
entirely driven the Rebels out of the valley of the Big Sandy. He also
tells me in a private letter of your capture and escape. He speaks of
the desperate conflict that you and your comrade had with four Rebel
cavalrymen. It was a most remarkable adventure. My boy, I shall keep my
eye on you. I surely should ask for your services myself if I were going
to remain in command of the department."

"General, I am sorry to have you resign," answered Fred, hardly knowing
what to say.

The general's face darkened, and then he answered lightly: "I do not
think they will be sorry at Washington."

And they were not; his resignation was gladly accepted, and the general
who afterward led his victorious army to Atlanta, and then made his
famous march to the sea, and whose fame filled the world, retired under
a cloud. And the injustice of it rankled in his breast and imbittered
his heart for months.



CHAPTER XII.

A DESPERATE ENCOUNTER.


The general appointed to succeed Sherman was Don Carlos Buell, a
thorough soldier, and, like McClellan, a splendid organizer; but, like
that general, he was unsuccessful in the field, and during what is known
as the "Bragg-Buell campaign" in Kentucky in the fall of 1862, he
entirely lost the confidence of his soldiers.

Buell's first attention was given to the organization of his army and
the drilling of his soldiers. His labors in this direction were very
successful, and the "Army of the Cumberland" became famous for its
_esprit de corps_.

General Nelson, according to his predictions, was ordered back with his
command to Louisville. Fred, now entirely well, was greatly rejoiced to
once more see his old commander. But there was little prospect of active
service, for the division was ordered into camp for the purpose of
drilling and being perfected in military duties. Idleness was irksome to
Fred, so he asked and obtained permission to join General Thomas, and
remain until such time as Nelson might need his services.

General Thomas gave Fred a most cordial reception. There was something
about the handsome, dashing boy that greatly endeared him to the staid,
quiet general. Just now, Fred's presence was very desirable, for
Zollicoffer was proving very troublesome, threatening first one point
and then another, and it was almost impossible to tell which place was
in the most danger. General Thomas' forces were greatly scattered,
guarding different points, and he feared that at some of these places
his troops might be attacked and overpowered. He had asked permission of
Buell time and again to be allowed to concentrate his forces and strike
Zollicoffer a telling blow, but each and every time had met with a
refusal. Instead of being allowed to concentrate his force, he was
ordered to move portions of his command here and there, and the orders
of one day might be countermanded the next. Being December, the roads
were in a horrible condition, and it was almost impossible to move
trains, so that his army was being reduced by hard service which did no
good. Fred could see that the general was worried. He would sit for
hours buried in thought or poring over maps.

All this time, Zollicoffer was ravaging the middle southern counties of
Kentucky, threatening first London, then Somerset, then Columbia, then
some intermediate point. The outposts of the army were often attacked,
and frequent skirmishes took place. In the midst of this activity, Fred
found congenial employment. He was kept busy carrying dispatches from
one post to another, or on scouting expeditions, trying to gain
information of the movements of the enemy. He frequently met squads of
the enemy, and had many narrow escapes from capture; but the fleetness
of his horse always saved him.

Of all General Thomas' scouts, Fred obtained the most valuable
information. While not venturing into the enemy's lines, he had a way of
getting information out of the inhabitants friendly to the South that
surprised even the general. Fred hardly ever made a mistake as to the
movements of the opposing army.

If there was one thing that he loved more than another it was his horse.
He had trained him to do anything that a horse could do. At a word he
would lie down and remain as motionless as if dead. He would go anywhere
he was told without hesitating, and his keen ear would detect the
presence of an enemy quicker than the ear of his master. Fred had also
perfected himself in the use of a revolver until he was one of the best
shots in the army. He could ride by a tree at full gallop, and put three
balls in a three-inch circle without checking his speed.

"My life," he would say, "may depend on my being able to shoot quickly
and accurately."

On some of his scouts Fred would take a party with him, and there was
not a soldier who did not consider it one of the greatest honors to be
thus chosen.

One day near the close of the year Fred was scouting with a picked
force of five men a few miles to the east and south of Somerset. As they
were riding through a piece of wood, Prince suddenly stopped, pricked up
his ears, listened a moment, and then turned and looked at his master,
as if to say, "Danger ahead!"

"To cover, boys," said Fred, in a low tone. "Prince scents trouble."

The party turned aside into the wood, and was soon completely hidden
from view.

"Steady now," said Fred; "no noise."

"Are you sure your horse is as wise as you think?" asked one of the men.

"Perfectly sure; Prince never makes a mistake. Hark!"

The trampling of horses, and the jingling of sabers could plainly be
heard, and soon a party of nine Confederate cavalrymen came riding by.
They had no thought of danger, and were laughing and talking, thinking
not that death lurked so near them.

"The old traitor lives right ahead," they heard one say.

"We will learn him to harbor East Tennessee bridge-burners," said the
leader with a coarse laugh.

"Will it be hanging or shooting, Sergeant?" asked a third. "I hope it
will be hanging. It's such fun to see a Lincolnite hanging by the neck
and dancing on air. Never shoot a man if you can hang him, is my motto."

Fred's men heard this conversation with lowering brows, and the
muttered curses were deep if not loud, and five carbines were raised,
but with a gesture Fred motioned them down. His men looked at him in
astonishment, and there was disappointment on every face.

As soon as the Confederates were out of hearing, so it was safe to
speak, one of the men said with a sigh:

"Capt'in,"--the soldiers always called Fred captain when they were out
with him--"I would hev give five dollars for a shot. I would hev fetched
that feller that loved to see hangin', sure."

"I have strict orders," replied Fred, "to avoid fighting when I am out
on these scouting expeditions. It is the part of a good scout never to
get into a fight except to avoid capture. A scout is sent out to get
information, not to fight; a conflict defeats the very object he has in
view."

"That's so, capt'in, but it goes agin the grain to let them fellers
off."

"I may have made a mistake," replied Fred, "in letting those fellows
off. Come to think about it, I do not like what they said. It sounded
like mischief."

"Worse than that, capt'in."

"We will follow them up," said Fred, "as far as we can unobserved. You
remember we passed a pretty farmhouse some half a mile back; that may be
the place they were talking about. We can ride within three hundred
yards of it under cover of the forest."

Riding carefully through the wood, they soon came in sight of the
place. Surely enough, the Confederates had stopped in front of the
house. Four of them were holding the horses, while the other five were
not to be seen. As they sat looking the muffled sound of two shots were
heard, and then the shrieking of women.

"Boys," said Fred, in a strained voice, "I made a mistake in not letting
you shoot. Hear those shrieks? There is devil's work there. There are
nine of them; we are six. Shall we attack them?"

"Aye! aye!" shouted every one, their eyes blazing with excitement.

"Look well to your weapons, then. Are you ready?"

"We are ready. Hurrah for the young capt'in!" they all shouted.

"Then for God's sake, forward, or we will be too late!" for the frenzied
shrieks of women could still be heard.

They no sooner broke cover, than the men holding the horses discovered
them, and gave the alarm. The five miscreants who were in the house came
rushing out, and all hastily mounting their horses, rode swiftly away.
The Federals, with yells of vengeance, followed in swift pursuit; yet in
all probability the Confederates would have escaped if it had not been
for the fleetness of Prince. Fred soon distanced all of his companions,
and so was comparatively alone and close on the heels of the enemy.
They noticed this, and conceived the idea that they could kill or
capture him. This was their undoing. Fred was watching for this very
thing, and as they stopped he fired, just as the leader's horse was
broadside to him. Then at the word, Prince turned as quick as a flash,
and was running back. The movement was so unexpected to the Confederates
that the volley they fired went wild.

As for the horse of the Confederate leader, it reared and plunged, and
then fell heavily, pinning its rider to the ground. Two of his men
dismounted to help him. When he got to his feet, he saw that Fred's
companions had joined him and that they all were coming on a charge.

"Here, Simmons!" he yelled. "Let me have your horse. You take to cover.
Now, boys, stand firm; there are only six of them. Here is for old
Tennessee!"

But it takes men of iron nerve to stand still and receive a charge, and
the Federals were coming like a whirlwind.

The Confederates emptied their revolvers at close range, and then half
of them turned to flee. It was too late; the Federals were among them,
shooting, sabering, riding them down. The fight was short and fierce.
When it was over, eight Confederates lay dead or desperately wounded. Of
the six Federals, two were dead and two were wounded. Only one
Confederate had escaped to carry back the story of the disaster.

[Illustration: The Federals were among them, shooting, sabering, riding
them down.]

One of the wounded Confederates lay groaning and crying with pain, and
Fred going up to him, asked if he could do anything for him.

The man looked up, and then a scowl of hate came over his face.

"It's you, is it?" he groaned, and then with an oath said: "I will have
you if I die for it," and attempted to raise his revolver, which he
still clutched.

As quick as a flash Fred knocked it out of his hand, and as quick one of
Fred's men had a revolver at the breast of the desperate Confederate.
Fred knocked the weapon up, and the shot passed harmlessly over the head
of the wounded man.

"None of that, Williams," said Fred. "We cannot afford to kill wounded
men in cold blood."

"But the wretch would have murdered you, capt'in," said Williams, and
then a cry went up from all the men. "Kill him! kill him!"

"Mercy! mercy!" gasped the wretch.

Fred looked at the man closely, and then said: "You are Bill Pearson,
the man I struck with my riding-whip at Gallatin."

"Yes; mercy! mercy!"

"You miserable wretch," said Fred, contemptuously. "By good rights I
ought to blow your brains out, but your carcass is not worth the powder.
Live, if you can."

Just then Fred noticed a countryman who had been attracted by the sound
of the firing, and motioned to him to approach. He came up trembling,
and looked with wonder on the dead men and horses.

"My good man," said Fred, "here are some wounded men that should be
looked after. Can you not do it, or get word to their command?"

"I reckon I kin," slowly replied the countryman. "Must had quite a
fought."

"Yes," replied Fred; "and this reminds me, boys, we had better get away
from here. We do not know how many of the enemy may be near."

The wounds of the two Federals who had been hurt were bound up, and they
were helped on their horses. The bodies of the two dead were then
tenderly placed on two of the Confederate horses which were unhurt, and
the mournful cavalcade slowly moved away.

Going back to the house which the Confederates had entered, a
distressing sight met their view.

On a bed, the master of the house lay dead, shot to death by the
murderers. By the bedside stood the wife and two daughters, weeping and
wringing their hands. The face of the widow was covered with blood, and
there was a deep gash on her head where one of the wretches had struck
her with the butt of his revolver, as she clung to him imploring him not
to murder her husband.

The pitiful sight drove Fred's men wild, and he had all that he could do
to prevent them from going back and finishing the wounded murderers.

"You did wrong, capt'in, in not letting me finish that red-handed
villain who tried to shoot you," said Williams.

With broken sobs the woman told her story. Her husband had a brother in
East Tennessee, who had been accused by the Confederate authorities of
helping burn railroad bridges. He escaped with a number of Union men,
and was now a captain in one of the Tennessee regiments.

"They came here," said the woman, "and found my husband sick in bed, so
sick he could not raise a finger to help himself. They accused him of
harboring his brother, and of furnishing information, and said that they
had come to hang him, but as he was sick they would shoot him. And
then," sobbed the woman, "notwithstanding our prayers, they shot him
before our eyes. Oh, it was dreadful!" and the stricken wife broke
completely down, and the daughters hung over the body of their murdered
father, weeping as if their hearts would break.

Fred was deeply moved. He told the sobbing women that he would at once
report the case, and have her husband's brother come out with his
company. "We will also," said Fred, "leave the bodies of our two dead
comrades here. If you wish, I will send a chaplain, that all may have
Christian burial. And, my poor woman, your wrongs have been fearfully
avenged. Of the nine men in the party that murdered your husband, but
one escaped. The rest are dead or terribly wounded."

"Thank God! thank God!" said the women, raising their streaming eyes to
heaven. Even the presence of death did not take away their desire for
revenge. Such is poor human nature, even in gentle woman.

"War makes demons of us all," thought Fred.

The story of that fight was long a theme around the camp fire, and the
three soldiers who survived never tired of telling it. As for Fred, he
spoke of it with reluctance, and could not think of it without a
shudder. Fifteen men never engaged in a bloodier conflict, even on the
"dark and bloody ground" of Kentucky.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE MEETING OF THE COUSINS.


General Thomas sat in his headquarters at Lebanon looking over some
dispatches which Fred had just brought from General Schoepf at Somerset.
His face wore a look of anxiety as he read, for the dispatches told him
that General Zollicoffer had crossed to the north side of the Cumberland
river and was fortifying his camp at Beech Grove.

"I may be attacked at any moment," wrote General Schoepf, "and you know
how small my force is. For the love of heaven, send me reinforcements."

The general sat with his head bowed in his hands thinking of what could
be done, when an orderly entered with dispatches from Louisville. Thomas
opened them languidly, for he expected nothing but the old story of
keeping still and doing nothing. Suddenly his face lighted up; his whole
countenance beamed with satisfaction, and turning to Fred he said:

"My boy, here is news for us, indeed. General Buell has at last
consented to advance. He has given orders for me to concentrate my army
and attack Zollicoffer at the earliest possible moment."

Fred could not suppress a hurrah.

"General," he exclaimed, "I already see Zollicoffer defeated, and hurled
back across the Cumberland."

General Thomas smiled. "Don't be too sanguine, Fred," he said; "none of
us know what the fortune of war may be; we can only hope for the best.
But this means more work for you, my boy. You will at once have to
return with dispatches to General Schoepf. Everything depends on his
holding his position. Somerset must be held at all hazards."

"I am ready to start this minute with such tidings," gayly responded
Fred. "Prince, poor fellow, will have it the hardest, for the roads are
awful."

"That is what I am afraid of," replied the general. "I hope to be with
Schoepf within a week, but, owing to the condition of the roads, it may
take me much longer."

Within an hour Fred was on his way back to Somerset. It was a terrible
journey over almost impassable roads; streams, icy cold, had to be
forded; but boy and horse were equal to the occasion, and in three days
reached Somerset.

How was it with General Thomas? His week lengthened into three. He
commenced his march from Lebanon on December 31st; it was January 18th
before he reached his destination. The roads seemed bottomless. The
rain poured in torrents, and small streams were turned into raging
rivers. Bridges were swept away, and had to be rebuilt. The soldiers,
benumbed with chilling rain, toiled on over the sodden roads, cheerful
in the thought that they were soon to meet the enemies of their country.

General Schoepf received the news of General Thomas' advance with great
satisfaction.

"If I can only hold on," he said, "until Thomas comes, everything will
be all right."

"We must show a bold front, General," replied Fred, "and make the enemy
believe we have a large force."

"It's the enemy that is showing a bold front nowadays," replied General
Schoepf, with a faint smile. "They have been particularly saucy lately.
They have in the last few days, cut off two or three small scouting
parties. But what worries me the most is that there is hardly a night
but that every man on some one of our picket posts is missing. There is
no firing, not the least alarm of any kind, but the men in the morning
are gone. It is a mystery we have tried to solve in vain. At first we
thought the men had deserted, but we have given that idea up. The men
are getting superstitious over the disappearance of so many of their
comrades, and are actually becoming demoralized."

"General, will you turn this picket business over to me?" asked Fred,
quietly.

"Gladly," replied the general. "I have heard much of your ability in
ferreting out secret matters. Your success as a scout I am well
acquainted with, as you know. I hope you will serve me as well in this
matter of the pickets, for I am at my wits' end."

"Well, General, to-morrow I will be at your service, and I trust you
will lose no more pickets before that time," and so saying Fred took his
leave, for he needed rest badly.

The next morning, when Fred went to pay his respects to the general, he
found him with a very long face. "Another post of four men disappeared
last night," he said.

Fred gave a low whistle. "Well, General, if possible, I will try and
solve the problem, but it may be too hard for me."

"Have you any idea yet how they are captured?" asked the general.

"None at all. I must first look over the ground carefully, see how the
men are posted, talk with them, and then I may be able to form an idea."

Fred's first business was to ride out to where the post had been
captured during the night. This he did, noting the lay of the ground,
carefully looking for footprints not only in front, but in the rear of
where the men had been stationed. He then visited all the picket posts,
talked with the men, learned their habits on picket, whether they were
as watchful as they should be--in fact, not the slightest thing of
importance escaped his notice.

On his return from his tour of inspection, Fred said to General
Schoepf, "Well, General, I have my idea."

"What is it?" asked the general, greatly interested.

"Your pickets have been captured from the rear, not the front."

"What do you mean?" excitedly asked the general.

"I mean that some of the pickets are so placed that a wary foe could
creep in between the posts and come up in the rear, completely
surprising the men. I think I found evidence that the men captured last
night were taken in that way. I found, at least, six posts of which I
believe an enemy could get in the rear without detection, especially if
the land had been spied out."

"You astonish me," said the general. "But even if this is so, why does
not the sentinel give the alarm?"

"He may be in such a position that he dare not," answered Fred.

"What do you propose?"

"That a double force be put on the posts, half to watch the rear. It
will be my business to-night to see to that."

"Very well," replied General Schoepf. "I shall be very curious to see
how the plan works, and whether your idea is the correct one or not."

"I will not warrant it, General," replied Fred, "but there will be no
harm in trying."

Just before night Fred made a second round of the picket posts, and
made careful inquiry whether any one of the posts had been visited
during the day by any one from the outside.

All of the posts answered in the negative save one. The corporal of that
post said: "Why, a country boy was here to sell us some vegetables and
eggs."

"Ah!" replied Fred. "Was he a bright boy, and did he seem to notice
things closely?"

"On the contrary," said the corporal, "he appeared to be remarkably dull
and ignorant."

"Has the same boy been in the habit of selling vegetables to the
pickets?" asked Fred.

Come to think about it, the corporal believed he had heard such a boy
spoken of.

Then one of the men spoke up and said:

"You know Rankin was on the post that was taken in last night. He had a
letter come yesterday, and I took it out to him, and he told me of what
a fine supper they were going to have, saying they had bought some eggs
and a chicken of a boy."

"Jerusalem!" suddenly exclaimed the corporal, "that boy to-day walked to
the rear some little distance--made an excuse for going; he might not
have been such a fool as he looked."

"Thank you," replied Fred. "Corporal, I will be here a little after dark
with a squad of men to help you keep watch. In the mean time keep a
sharp lookout."

"That I will," answered the corporal. "Do you think that boy was a
spy?" he then asked, with much concern.

"I don't know," answered Fred. "But such a thing is possible. But if any
trouble occurs on the picket line to-night, it will be at this post."

That night Fred doubled the pickets on six posts which he considered the
most exposed. But the extra men were to guard the rear instead of the
front. The most explicit instructions were given, and they were
cautioned that they were to let no alarm at the front make them relax
their vigilance in the rear. Thirty yards in the rear of the post where
he was to watch Fred had noticed a small ravine which led down into a
wood. It was through this ravine that he concluded the enemy would creep
if they should try to gain the rear of the post. Fred posted his men so
as to watch this ravine. To the corporal who had charge of the post, he
said:

"My theory is, that some one comes up to your sentinel, and attracts his
attention by pretending to be a friend, or perhaps a deserter. This, of
course, will necessitate the sentinel's calling for you, and naturally
attract the attention of every man awake. While this is going on, a
party that has gained the rear unobserved will rush on you and be in
your midst before you know it, and you will be taken without a single
gun being fired."

The corporal and his men looked astonished.

"Zounds!" said one, "I believe it could be done."

"Now," continued Fred, "if you are hailed from the front to-night act
just as if you had not heard of this. I will take care of the rear."

When everything was prepared the soldiers, wrapped in their blankets,
sat down to wait for what might come. So intently did they listen that
the falling of a leaf would startle them. The hours passed slowly away.
There was a half-moon, but dark clouds swept across the sky, and only
now and then she looked forth, hiding her face again in a moment. Once
in a while a dash of cold rain would cause the sentinels to shiver and
sink their chins deeper into the collars of their great coats.

Midnight came, and still all was quiet. The soldiers not on guard lay
wrapped in their blankets, some of them in the land of dreams.

Off in the woods the hoot of an owl was heard. Instantly Fred was all
attention. A few minutes passed, and again the dismal "Whoo! whoo!" this
time much nearer. Fred aroused his men. Instantly they were all
attention, and every sense alert.

"Have you heard anything?" whispered the sergeant, next to him.

"Nothing but the suspicious hooting of an owl," whispered back Fred.
Then to the soldiers, "Perfectly still, men; not a sound."

So still were they that the beatings of their hearts could be heard.
Again the dismal hoot was heard, this time so near that it startled
them.

Then from the sentinel out in front came the short, sharp challenge,
"Who comes there?"

He was answered immediately. "A deserter who wishes to come into the
lines and give himself up."

"Stand! Corporal of the guard!"

The corporal went forward to receive the deserter. Now there came the
sound of swiftly advancing footsteps in front of the rear post, and dim
figures were seen through the darkness.

"Fire!" shouted Fred.

Seven rifles belched forth their contents, and for a moment the flashes
of the guns lighted up the scene, and then all was dark.

There were cries of pain, hoarse yells of surprise and anger, and then a
scattering volley returned.

"Use your revolvers," shouted Fred, and a rapid fire was opened.

"Fall back!" shouted a voice from the darkness. There were a few more
scattering shots, and all was still.

The deserter, who was so anxious to give himself up, the moment the
alarm was given fired at the sentinel and vanished in the darkness.

The sound of the firing created the wildest commotion in camp. The long
roll was beaten; the half-dressed, frightened soldiers came rolling out
of their tents, some without their guns, others without their cartridge
boxes; excited officers in their night clothes ran through the camp,
waving their bare swords and shouting: "Fall in, men, for God's sake,
fall in."

It was some minutes before the excitement abated, and every one was
asking, "What is it? what is it?"

The officer of the day, with a strong escort, came riding out to where
the firing was heard. Being challenged, he gave the countersign, and
then hurriedly asked what occasioned the firing.

"Oh," cheerfully responded Fred, "they tried to take us in, and got
taken in themselves."

An examination of the ground in front of where Fred's squad was
stationed revealed two Confederates still in death, and trails of blood
showed that others had been wounded.

"You can go to your quarters," said Fred to his men. "You will not be
needed again to-night; and, Lieutenant," said he, turning to the officer
of the day, "each and every one of these men deserves thanks for his
steadiness and bravery."

"I hardly think, General," said Fred, the next morning, as he made his
report, "that your pickets will be disturbed any more."

As for General Schoepf, he was delighted, and could not thank Fred
enough.

For three or four days things were comparatively quiet. Then a small
scouting party was attacked and two men captured. The next day a larger
party was attacked and driven in, with a loss of one killed and three
wounded. The stories were the same; the leader of the Confederates was a
young lieutenant, who showed the utmost bravery and handled his men with
consummate skill.

"I wish," said General Schoepf to Fred, "that you would teach this
young lieutenant the same kind of a lesson that you taught those fellows
who were capturing our pickets."

"I can try, General, but I am afraid the job will not only be harder,
but much more dangerous than that one," answered Fred.

"This same young lieutenant," continued the general, "may have had a
hand in that picket business, and since he received his lesson there has
turned his attention to scouting parties."

"In that case," replied Fred, "it will take the second lesson to teach
him good manners. Well, General, I will give it to him, if I can."

The next morning, with eight picked men from Wolford's cavalry, Fred
started out in search of adventure.

"Don't be alarmed, General," said Fred, as he rode away, "if we do not
come back to-night. We may take a notion to camp out."

Many of their comrades, with longing eyes, looked after them, and wished
they were of the number; yet they did not know but that every one was
riding to death or captivity. Yet such is the love of adventure in the
human breast that the most dangerous undertakings will be gladly risked.

After riding west about three miles Fred turned south and went about the
same distance. He then halted, and after a careful survey of the country
ahead, said: "I think, boys, it will be as well for us to leave the road
and take to the woods; we must be getting dangerously near the enemy's
country."

The party turned from the road and entered a wood. Working their way
through this, skirting around fields, and dashing across open places,
after making a careful observation of the front, they managed to proceed
about two miles further, when they came near the crossing of two main
roads. Here they stopped and fed their horses, while the men ate their
scanty fare of hard bread and bacon.

They had not been there long before a squadron of at least 200
Confederate cavalry came from the south, and turning west were soon out
of sight.

"I hardly think, boys," said Fred, "it would have paid us to try to take
those fellows into camp; we will let them go this time," and there was a
twinkle in his eye, although he kept his face straight.

"Just as you say, capt'in," replied one of the troopers, as he took a
chew of tobacco. "We would have gobbled them in if you had said the
word."

A little while after this a troop of ten horsemen came up the same road,
but instead of turning west they kept on north. At the head of the troop
rode a youthful officer.

One of the soldiers with Fred was one of the number that had been
attacked and defeated two days before by the squad of which they were in
search.

"That's he, that's the fellow!" exclaimed the soldier, excitedly.

Fred's breath came thick and fast. What he had come for, fate had thrown
in his way.

"They are only one more than we!" he exclaimed.

"If they were double, we would fight them," cried the men all together.

"Let them pass out of sight before we pursue," said Fred. "The farther
we get them from their lines the better."

"Now," said Fred, after they had waited about five minutes. A ride of a
few minutes more brought them into the road. Halting a moment, Fred
turned to his men and said:

"Men, I know every one of you will do your duty. All I have to say is
obey orders, keep cool, and make every shot count. Forward!"

With a cheer they followed their gallant young leader. After riding
about two miles, Fred reined up and said: "They have not dodged us, have
they, boys? We ought to have sighted them before this. Here is where we
turned off of the road. By heavens! I believe they noticed that a squad
of horsemen had turned off into the woods, and are following the tracks.
Let's see," and Fred jumped from his horse, and examined the tracks
leading into the woods.

"That's what they did, boys," said he, looking up. "I will give that
lieutenant credit for having sharp eyes. Now, boys, we will give him a
surprise by following."

They did not go more than half a mile before they caught sight of the
Confederates. Evidently they had concluded not to follow the tracks any
farther, for they had turned and were coming back, and the two parties
must have sighted each other at nearly the same moment.

There was the sharp crack of a carbine, and a ball whistled over the
Federals' heads.

"Steady, men," said Fred. "They are coming."

But he was mistaken. The young lieutenant who led the Confederates was
far too careful a leader to charge an unknown number of men. Instead of
charging the Confederates dismounted, and leaving their horses in charge
of two of their number the rest deployed and advanced, dodging from tree
to tree, and the bullets began to whistle uncomfortably close, one horse
being hit.

"Dismount, and take the horses back," was Fred's order. "We must meet
them with their own game." The two men who were detailed to take the
horses back went away grumbling because they were not allowed to stay in
the fight.

Telling them to keep well covered, Fred advanced his men slightly, and
soon the carbines were cracking at a lively rate.

But the fight was more noisy than dangerous, every man being careful to
keep a tree between himself and his foe.

"This can be kept up all day," muttered Fred, "and only trees and
ammunition will suffer. I must try something else."

Orders were given to fall back to the horses, and the men obeyed
sullenly. A word from Fred, and their faces brightened. Mounting their
horses, they rode back as if in disorderly retreat.

As soon as the Confederates discovered the movement, they rushed back
for their horses, mounted, and with wild hurrahs started in swift
pursuit of what they thought was a demoralized and retreating foe.

Coming to favorable ground, Fred ordered his men to wheel and charge. So
sudden was the movement that the Confederates faltered, then halted.

"Forward!" cried their young leader, spurring his horse on, but at that
moment a chance shot cut one of his bridle reins. The horse became
unmanageable, and running under the overhanging branches of a tree, the
gallant lieutenant was hurled to the ground. His men, dismayed by his
fall, and unable to withstand the impetuous onslaught of the Federals,
beat a precipitate retreat, leaving their commander and two of their
number prisoners in the hands of their foes. Two more of their men were
grievously wounded. Three of the Federals had been wounded in the mêlée.

Fred dismounted and bent over the young lieutenant, and then started
back uttering an exclamation of surprise and grief. He had looked into
the face of his cousin, Calhoun Pennington. Hurriedly Fred placed his
hand on the fallen boy's heart. It was beating. There was no sign of a
wound on his body.

"Thank God! He has only been stunned by the fall," exclaimed Fred.

In the mean time the five remaining Confederates had halted about a
quarter of a mile away, and were listening to what a sergeant, now in
command, was saying.

"Boys," he exclaimed, "it will be to our everlasting shame and disgrace
if we run away and leave the lieutenant in the hands of those cursed
Yankees. Some of them must be disabled, as well as some of us. Let us
charge and retake the lieutenant, or die to a man in the attempt."

"Here is our hand on that, Sergeant," said each one of the four, and one
after the other placed his hand in that of the grim old sergeant.

But just as they were about to start on their desperate attempt, they
were surprised to see Fred riding towards them, waving a white
handkerchief. When he came in hailing distance, he cried:

"Men, your gallant young leader lies over here grievously hurt. We are
going to withdraw," and wheeling his horse, he rode swiftly back.

Fred hastily made preparations to withdraw. One of his men was so badly
wounded that he had to be supported on his horse; therefore their
progress was slow, and it was night before they reached camp. Fred made
his report to General Schoepf and turned over his two prisoners. The
general was well pleased, and extended to Fred and the soldiers with him
his warmest congratulations.

"If you had only brought in that daring young lieutenant with you your
victory would have been complete," said the general.

"I hardly think, General," said Fred, "that you will be troubled with
him any more. He was still insensible when we left, and with my three
wounded men and the two prisoners it was well-nigh an impossibility for
us to bring him in."

"I know," replied the General, "and as you say, I think we have had the
last of him."

"I sincerely hope so," was Fred's answer as he turned away, and it meant
more than the general thought. Fred had a horror of meeting his cousin
in conflict, and devoutly prayed he might never do so again. He slept
little that night. Every time he closed his eyes he could see the pale
face of his cousin lying there in the wood, and the thought that he
might be dangerously hurt, perhaps dead, filled him with terror. "Why,"
he asked himself over and over again, "did the fortune of war bring us
together?"

Let us return to the scene of the conflict, and see how Calhoun is
getting along. The Confederates received Fred's message with surprise.

"That lets us out of a mighty tough scrape," remarked the sergeant. "We
must have hurt them worse than we thought."

"Don't know about that," answered one of his men who was watching the
Federals as they retired. "There is only one of them who appears to be
badly hurt; and they have poor Moon and Hunt in limbo, sure."

"Better be prisoners than dead," answered the sergeant. "But, boys, let
us to the lieutenant. It's strange the Yanks didn't try to take him
back."

When they reached Calhoun, he was already showing signs of returning
consciousness, and in a few minutes he was able to sit up and converse.

"Where are the Yankees?" was his first question.

"Gone."

"Then we whipped them after all," and his face lighted up with joy.

"Can't say that we did, Lieutenant," answered the sergeant; "but they
left mighty sudden for some reason."

Calhoun looked around on his men with a troubled countenance. "I see
only five of you," he said; "where are the rest?"

"Two are back nursing wounds," answered the sergeant. "Sheldon is hit,
so hard hit I am afraid he is done for. As for Moon and Hunt, they have
gone off with the Yanks."

"Prisoners?"

The sergeant nodded.

The tears rolled down the cheeks of the young officer. "Boys," he said,
chokingly, "I believe I have lost my grip. There was that last picket
affair that went against us, and now we are all broken up in a fair
combat."

"Don't take on, Lieutenant," said the sergeant, soothingly. "It was that
chance bullet that cut your bridle rein that did the business. If it
hadn't been for that we would have wiped them out, sure. As it is, we
are thankful they didn't take a notion to lug you off."

"Perhaps they thought I was dead."

"No, they didn't," replied the sergeant, and then he told Calhoun what
had happened.

"What kind of a looking man was the leader of the Yanks?" asked Calhoun.

"He was a boy, no older than yourself. He was mounted on a magnificent
bay horse with a star in the forehead.

"I see it all," sighed Calhoun. "The leader of that party was my cousin,
Fred Shackelford. He knew me, and he spared me. Boys, help me on my
horse. I am badly shaken up, but not seriously hurt. We will square
accounts with those fellows one of these days."

And the little party, bearing their wounded, sadly wended their way back
to the Confederate camp.

For the next few days the weather was so bad and the roads in such a
terrible condition that both armies were comparatively quiet. Nothing as
yet had been heard from the advance of General Thomas, and General
Schoepf began to be very uneasy. At last Fred offered to ride toward
Columbia, and see if he could not get some tidings of the missing
column. The offer was gladly accepted, and Fred set out. He met with no
adventure until about fifteen miles from Somerset, when he suddenly came
face to face with a young soldier, and he supposed a Federal, as he wore
a blue great coat. But a second look caused a cry of surprise to burst
from Fred's lips, and at the same time the supposed Federal soldier
snatched a revolver from the holster. The cousins were once more face to
face.

"Put up your revolver, Calhoun," cried Fred. "Is that the way you greet
your cousin?"

For a moment Calhoun gazed on Fred in silence, then raising his hand in
courtly salute, he suddenly turned his horse, and jumping him over a low
fence, disappeared in a copse of wood.

Fred was on the point of raising his voice to call him back, when it
flashed upon him that Calhoun had been playing the spy, and that he dare
not stop, even for a moment.

"He was only stunned after all, when he was hurled from his horse,"
thought Fred. "I am so glad; a heavy load has been lifted from my mind.
I am also glad he has gone now. It would have been extremely awkward for
me to have found out he was a spy, and then let him go."

It was with a lighter heart that he pursued his journey, but he had gone
but a short distance when he met a courier from General Thomas with
dispatches for General Schoepf. He was informed that the advance of
General Thomas was but a short distance in the rear. A few moments more
and Fred was in the presence of his general.

"Ah, Shackelford!" said Thomas, "I am glad to see you. How is everything
at Somerset?"

"All right, General, only General Schoepf has been sorely worried over
your non-appearance."

"I do not wonder. The march has been an awful one, and has taken three
times as long as I expected. But we will be at Logan's Cross Roads
to-night, where I shall halt to concentrate my army. If the enemy does
not retreat, we may look for a lively time in about three days."

"The lively time, General, may come before three days," answered Fred,
significantly.

"How is that?" asked Thomas, looking surprised.

"The Rebels may conclude," answered Fred, "to attack you before you can
bring up the rest of your force, or get aid from Somerset. Fishing Creek
is very high; I had to swim it. It will be almost impossible to get
infantry or artillery over."

"I have thought of that," replied the general, smiling. "I shall try and
be ready for them if they come."



CHAPTER XIV.

THE BATTLE OF MILL SPRINGS.


Fred was right in his surmise that Calhoun had been acting the part of a
spy. He had been playing a very dangerous game, and had been successful.
Disguised as a country boy, he had boldly entered Columbia, and in a
great measure had fathomed the plans of General Thomas. It was a matter
of common report that as soon as the army could be concentrated, General
Zollicoffer would be attacked. Calhoun had made a careful estimate of
the strength of Thomas' army, and when met by Fred he was taking an
observation of his order of march, and how long it would take the rear
brigade to reinforce the advance brigade, if it should be attacked.

The sudden meeting with Fred was a surprise to him. But when he heard
Fred's voice he knew his life was in no danger; yet he dare not tarry,
even for a moment, and so escaped as we have seen.

No sooner was he out of sight of Fred than he checked his horse. "That
was a lucky escape," he said to himself. "If I had to meet any one, it
was fortunate I met Fred. Poor fellow! I wonder what he thought of me!
I would so much like to have a talk with him, but it would have been
madness to have stopped, and then it would have placed him in a very
awkward predicament. Selim, old boy," continued he, patting his horse's
neck, "we have work yet before us; we must see where General Thomas
camps."

It was early on the morning of January 18th that Calhoun rode into the
Confederate camp at Beech Grove. Without changing his mud-bespattered
garments, he at once sought the quarters of Major-General G. B.
Crittenden, who had been placed in chief command of the army.

"Ah, Lieutenant," exclaimed the general, "I am glad to see you. I have
been thinking of you, and blaming myself for permitting you to go on
your hazardous adventure. He who acts as a spy takes his life in his
hands."

"It is an old saying that 'all is well that ends well,'" Calhoun
answered, smiling. "You ought to have seen what a splendid country
bumpkin I made; and I have succeeded beyond my most sanguine
expectations. I have very important news for you, General. General
Thomas is now encamped at Logan's Cross Roads, only ten miles away. He
will wait there for his rear brigade, and also for reinforcements from
Somerset. He has only one brigade with him, numbering not much over
4,000 men."

Calhoun then went on and gave General Crittenden the full details of the
strength of the Federal army, saying that he thought the rear brigade
of Thomas' army could not reach Logan's Cross Roads for at least two
days, and that owing to the height of water in Fishing Creek he believed
it impossible for Thomas to receive reinforcements from Somerset.

"If these forces all combine, General," continued Calhoun, "they will so
far outnumber us that it would be madness to risk a battle. To-morrow
Thomas will be isolated; his force is inferior to yours. I believe he
can be crushed."

"You think that your information as to numbers and position is
absolutely correct, do you?" asked the general.

"I do, General," answered Calhoun. "If you attack General Thomas in the
morning I am confident you will attack with a superior force."

"It is either that or a disastrous retreat," said the general, gravely.
"I will call a council of my officers at once. I wish you to appear
before them."

"As soon as I can get off some of this mud I will be ready," answered
Calhoun.

The council was called, and General Crittenden laid the facts before his
officers. Calhoun was asked a great many questions, to all of which he
gave full and sufficient answers. The council, without a dissenting
voice, voted to attack Thomas the next morning.

It was nearly midnight when the Confederates marched out of their
entrenchments, General Zollicoffer's brigade having the advance.
Calhoun acted as aid on the staff of General Crittenden. The distance,
ten miles, made a fearful night march, considering the roads. Calhoun
afterwards said that it was one of the worst marches he ever made. The
night was dark and gloomy. A cold drizzling rain fell that chilled the
soldiers to the very bone. Through the rain and the mud for hour after
hour the brave men of the Confederacy toiled on, animated by the hope
that they would soon meet and hurl back in inglorious defeat the men
whom they considered ruthless invaders of their soil. It took nearly
seven hours to march that ten miles, every step being taken through mud
and water, sometimes nearly knee deep.

Just as the gray shadows in the east betokened the ushering in of the
short January day, the crack! crack! of guns in front told that the
Federal pickets had been alarmed. The sharp reports of those guns as
they echoed back along the mud-stained ranks caused the weary soldier to
forget his weariness. The cold was no longer felt, the excitement of the
coming battle sent the blood tingling through the veins.

It is time to turn now to General Thomas and his little army that lay
encamped at Logan's Cross Roads in the darkness and shadows of that
gloomy night. Couriers had been sent back to hurry up the rear brigade;
orders had been sent to General Schoepf to at once forward three
regiments, but General Thomas well knew if he was attacked in the
morning none of these reinforcements would reach him.

The general sat in his tent, listening to Fred giving an account of what
had happened at Somerset during the three weeks he had been there. He
was especially interested in the account Fred gave of his picket fight.

"That, Shackelford," said the general, "was strategy worthy of a much
older head. Your little fight was also admirably managed."

"I had rather it had been against any one than my cousin," answered
Fred.

"Such things cannot be avoided," answered Thomas, with a sigh. "This is
an unhappy war. I am a Virginian, and must fight against those who are
near and dear to me."

Fred did not answer; he was thinking of his father.

The general sat as if buried in deep thought for a moment, and then
suddenly looking up, said:

"Shackelford, you know when we were going into camp this evening that
you said you feared an attack in the morning."

"I am almost positive of it, General," was Fred's reply.

"Will you give me your reasons?"

"Because the enemy is well posted and must know that you mean to attack
them when your forces are consolidated, and your army will be so strong
they cannot hope to stand before it. I am also of the opinion that they
are well informed of your isolated position here; that one of your
brigades is two days' march in the rear, also that owing to the high
stage of water in Fishing Creek it will be impossible for General
Schoepf to reinforce you for a day or two. I also believe that the enemy
has a fair estimate of your exact strength."

During this speech of Fred's the general listened intently, and then
said: "You have a better idea of my actual position than I trust most of
my officers have, but you said some things which need explaining. On
what grounds do you base your belief that the enemy are so well
acquainted with my situation and strength?"

"No positive proof, General, but an intuition which I cannot explain.
But this impression is also based on more solid ground than intuition.
Yesterday, just before I met your advance, I met a man in our uniform.
When he saw me he jumped his horse over a fence and disappeared in a
wood. I am almost certain he was a spy. To-day I caught a glimpse of
that same man in the woods yonder on our right."

Thomas mused a moment, and then said: "If the Confederate general fully
knows our situation and strength, he is foolish if he does not attack
me. But if he does, I shall try and be ready for him."

The general then once more carefully examined his maps of the country,
gave orders that a very strong picket should be posted, and that well in
advance of the infantry pickets cavalry videttes should be placed, and
that the utmost vigilance should be exercised.

Then turning to Fred, he said: "If your expectations are realized in the
morning, you may act as one of my aids. And now, gentlemen," said he,
turning to his staff, "for some sleep; we must be astir early in the
morning."

In the gray light of the early morning, from away out in front, there
came the faint report of rifles. Nearer and more rapid grew the firing.
Early as it was, General Thomas and staff had had their breakfast, and
every soldier was prepared.

General Manson, in command of the advance regiments, came galloping back
to headquarters.

"General," he said, "we are attacked in force."

"Go back," replied General Thomas, without betraying any more excitement
than if he were ordering his men out on review, "form your men in the
most advantageous position, and hold the enemy until I can bring up the
rest of the troops."

In a trice aids were galloping in every direction. Fred found enough to
do. The fitful reports of guns in front had become a steady roll of
musketry. The loud mouth of the cannon joined in, and the heavy
reverberations rolled over field and through forest. In an incredibly
short time every regiment was in motion towards where the heavy smoke of
battle was already hanging over the field.

Of all the thousands, the general commanding seemed the most
unconcerned. He leisurely mounted his horse and trotted toward the
conflict. His eye swept the field, and as the regiments came up they
were placed just where they were needed. His manner inspired every one
who saw him with confidence.

To Fred the scene was inexpressibly grand. This, then, was a battle. The
wild cheering of men, the steady roll of musketry, the deep bass of
cannon, thrilled him with an excitement never felt before. The singing
of the balls made strange music in his ears. Now and then a shell or
solid shot would crash through the forest and shatter the trees as with
a thunderbolt. Soon a thin line of men came staggering back, some
holding up an arm streaming with blood, others hobbling along using
their guns as crutches. A few, wild with fear, had thrown away their
guns, and were rushing back, lost to shame, lost to honor, lost to
everything but an insane desire to get out of that hell of fire.

Fred was a born soldier. At first there was a lump in the throat, as if
the heart was trying to get away, a slight trembling of the limbs, a
momentary desire to get out of danger, and then he was as cool and
collected as if on parade. Through the storm of balls he rode,
delivering his orders with a smiling face, and a word of cheer. General
Thomas noticed the coolness of his aid, and congratulated him on his
soldierly qualities.

On the left, in front of the Fourth Kentucky Regiment, the battle was
being waged with obstinate fury. Colonel Fry, seeing Fred, rode up to
him, and said: "Tell General Thomas I must have reinforcements at once;
the enemy is flanking me."

Away went Fred to deliver the order.

"Say to Colonel Fry," said Thomas, "that I will at once forward the aid
required. Until the reinforcements come, tell him to hold his position
at all hazards."

The message was delivered. Fry compressed his lips, glanced along his
line, saw the point of greatest danger, and quickly ordered two of his
left companies to the right, leading them in person, Fred going with
him.

An officer enveloped in a large gray coat suddenly rode out of the wood,
and galloping up to them shouted: "For God's sake, stop firing! You are
firing on your own men."

Just then two other officers rode up to the one in a gray cloak. Seeing
Colonel Fry and Fred, they at once fired on them. Colonel Fry was
slightly wounded, but Fred was untouched. As quick as thought both
returned the fire. The officer at whom Fred fired reeled in his saddle,
then straightened up and galloped to the rear. Colonel Fry fired at the
officer in the gray cloak. He threw up his arms, and then plunged
headlong to the ground.

The bullet from Colonel Fry's pistol had pierced the heart of General
Zollicoffer.

The battle now raged along the entire line with great fury. The lowering
clouds grew darker, and the pitiless rain, cold and icy, fell on the
upturned faces of the dead. The cruel storm beat upon the wounded, and
they shivered and moaned as their life's blood ebbed away. The smoke
settled down over the field and hid the combatants from view, but
through the gloom the flashes of the guns shone like fitful tongues of
flame. Then the Federal line began to press forward, and soon the whole
Confederate army was in full retreat.

[Illustration: The Battle now raged along the entire line with great
fury.]

It was at this time that Fred's attention was attracted to a young
Confederate officer, who was trying to rally his men. Bravely did he
strive to stay the panic, but suddenly Fred saw him falter, sway to and
fro, and then fall. Once more did the Confederates try to rally under
the leadership of a young mounted officer, but they were swept aside,
and the battle was over.

Fred's first thought was for the young Confederate officer whom he saw
fall while trying to rally his men. There was something about him that
seemed familiar. Could it be Calhoun? Fred's heart stood still at the
thought. Fred soon found the object of his search. He was lying on his
side, his head resting on his left arm, his right hand still grasping
his sword, a smile on his face. As Fred looked on the placid face of the
dead, a groan burst from him, and the tears gushed from his eyes. With
his handkerchief he wiped away the grime of battle, and there, in all
his manly beauty, Bailie Peyton lay before him. Fred's thoughts flew
back to that day at Gallatin. No more would those eloquent lips hold
entranced a spellbound audience. No more would his fiery words stir the
hearts of his countrymen, even as the wind stirs the leaves of the
forest.

Tenderly did Fred have him carried back and laid by the side of his
fallen chieftain. Both were given the honor due them. As soon as
possible the remains of both were forwarded through the lines to
Nashville.

It was not the city that Fred saw in August. Then it was wild and
hilarious with joy, carried away with the pomp and glory of war.
Zollicoffer was the idol of the people of Tennessee; Bailie Peyton of
its young men. That both should fall in the same battle plunged
Nashville in deepest mourning.

When the bodies arrived, it was a city of tears. Flags floated at
half-mast; women walked the streets wringing their hands and weeping
bitter tears. Their idols lay dead. Poor Nashville! She was to drink
still deeper of the bitter cup of war.



CHAPTER XV.

A FIGHT WITH GUERRILLAS.


Back over the ten miles that they had marched through the darkness and
rain, the Confederate army fled in the wildest confusion. Swift in
pursuit came the victorious army of Thomas. Before night his cannon were
shelling the entrenchments at Beech Grove. There was no rest for the
hungry, weary, despondent Confederates. In the darkness of the night
they stole across the river, and then fled, a demoralized mob, leaving
everything but themselves in the hands of the victors.

The next morning an officer came to Fred and said one of the prisoners
would like to see him.

"One of the prisoners would like to see me," asked Fred, in surprise.
"What for?"

"I don't know," answered the officer. "But he is a plucky chap; it's the
young lieutenant who headed the last rally of the Rebs. He fought until
he was entirely deserted by his men and surrounded by us; he then tried
to cut his way out, but his horse was shot and he captured."

"Good heavens!" exclaimed Fred. "It must be Calhoun," and he rushed to
where the prisoners were confined.

"Calhoun!"

"Fred!"

And the boys were in each other's arms.

"Cal, you don't know how glad I am to see you," exclaimed Fred.

"Bonds and all?" answered Calhoun, with a dash of his old spirits.

"No," said Fred; "like St. Paul, I will say 'except these bonds.' But
Calhoun, I must have a good long talk with you in private."

"Not much privacy here, Fred," said Calhoun, looking around at the crowd
that was staring at them.

Fred went to General Thomas and told him that his cousin was among the
prisoners, and asked permission to take him to his quarters. The
permission was readily given, and the boys had the day and night to
themselves.

How they did talk, and how much they had to tell each other! First Fred
had to tell Calhoun all about himself.

When he had finished Calhoun grasped his hand and exclaimed: "Fred, I am
proud of you, if you are fighting with the Yanks. How I would like to
ride by your side! But of all your adventures, the one with poor Robert
Ferror touches me deepest. Poor fellow! he should have lived. He must
have had a great deal of pure gold about him, notwithstanding his
cowardly crime."

"He did," sighed Fred, "he did; and yet I can never think of the
assassination of Captain Bascom without a shudder. On the other hand, I
can never think of Ferror's death without tears. As I think of him now,
I am of the opinion that the indignities heaped upon him had, in a
measure, unbalanced his mind, and that the killing of Bascom was the act
of an insane person. But, Cal, I hate to talk about it; that night of
horrors always gives me the shivers. So tell me all about yourself."

"There is not much to tell," answered Calhoun. "You know I left Danville
with your father for Bowling Green. Owing to the influence of my father,
I was commissioned a second lieutenant and given a place on the staff of
Governor Johnson. You know a provisional State government was organized
at Bowling Green, and G. M. Johnson appointed Governor. When General
Buckner tried to capture Louisville by surprise, and you objected by
throwing the train off the track, I was one of the victims of the
outrage. I recognized you, just as your father ordered the volley
fired."

"My father!" gasped Fred. "My father! did he order that volley fired at
me?"

"Yes; but he did not know it was you when he gave the order. When I
called out it was you, he nearly fainted, and would have fallen if one
of his officers had not caught him. He wanted to resign then and there,
but General Buckner would not hear of it. Really, Fred, I think he would
have ordered that volley even if he had known you; but if you had been
killed, he would have killed himself afterward."

"Poor father!" sighed Fred. "He loves me even if he has disowned me."

"Well," continued Calhoun, "to make a long story short, I became
prodigiously jealous of you. You were covering yourself with glory while
I was sitting around doing nothing. It was awful dull at Bowling Green.
As Zollicoffer appeared to be the only one of the Confederate generals
who was at all active, I asked and received permission to join him,
where I was given a roving commission as a scout. If I do say it, I made
it rather lively for you fellows. At length I hit upon a nice little
plan of capturing your pickets, and was quite successful until you found
it out and put an end to my fun."

"Calhoun," exclaimed Fred, in surprise, "was it you with whom I had that
night fight?"

"It was, and you came near making an end of your hopeful cousin, I can
tell you. Out of seven men, I had two killed and four wounded. Only one
man and myself escaped unhurt, and I had three bullet holes through my
clothes. That put an end to my raids upon your pickets, and I confined
myself to scouting once more. Then came that unlucky fight with you in
the woods. Fred, I must congratulate you on the way you managed that.
Your retreat showed me your exact strength, and I thought I could wipe
you off the face of the earth. Your sudden wheel and charge took us
completely by surprise, and disconcerted my men. That shot which cut my
bridle rein took me out of the fight, and perhaps it was just as well
for me that it did. When I came to and found out what had been done, I
at once knew you must have been in command of the squad, and if I could
I would have hugged you for your generosity."

"Cal," replied Fred, his voice trembling with emotion, "you can hardly
realize my feelings when I saw you lying pale and senseless there before
me; it took all the fight out of me."

"I know, I know," answered Calhoun, laying his hand caressingly on
Fred's shoulder. "I was badly shaken up by that fall, but not seriously
hurt. Now, comes the most dangerous of my adventures. When I met you in
the road, I----"

"Stop!" broke in Fred, "not another word. Of course you were on one of
your scouting expeditions."

A curious look came over Calhoun's face, and then he said, in a low
voice: "You are right, Fred; I was on one of my scouting expeditions,"
and he shuddered slightly.

"Fred," suddenly asked Calhoun, "is there any possible way for me to
keep from going to prison?"

"Sometimes prisoners give their parole," answered Fred. "I will see what
can be done."

The next morning General Thomas sent for Fred, and said that he was
about to send some dispatches to General Buell at Louisville. "And,"
continued he, "owing to your splendid conduct and the value of the
services you have rendered, I have selected you as the messenger. Then,
in all probability, it will be very quiet in my front for some time,
and General Nelson may have more active work for you. You know," he
concluded with a smile, "I only have the loan of you."

Fred heartily thanked the general for the honor bestowed, and then said:
"General, I have a great boon to ask."

"What is it?" asked the general, kindly. "If possible I will grant it."

"You know my cousin is here a prisoner. He is more like a brother than a
cousin--the only brother I ever knew. The boon I ask is that you grant
him a parole."

"Bring him here," said the general.

Calhoun was sent for, and soon stood in the presence of the general.

"An officer, I see," said the general, as he glanced Calhoun over.

"Yes, sir; Lieutenant Calhoun Pennington of Governor Johnson's staff,"
answered Calhoun, with dignity.

"What were you doing up here if you are one of Johnson's staff?" asked
the general.

"I was here on special duty."

"Lieutenant, your cousin has asked as a special favor that you be
granted a parole. He says that you reside in Danville, and as he is
going to Louisville, he would like to have you accompany him as far as
your home."

"General," answered Calhoun, "you would place me under a thousand
obligations if you would grant me a parole; but only on one condition,
and that is that you effect my exchange as quickly as possible."

The general smiled. "I see," said he, "that you and Shackelford are
alike; never satisfied unless you are in the thickest of the fray. I
think I can satisfy you."

The parole was made out, and Fred and Calhoun made preparations to start
for Danville. Never did two boys enjoy a ride more than they did.

In spite of bad roads and bad weather, the exuberance of their spirits
knew no bounds. They were playmates again, without a word of difference
between them. As far as they were concerned, the clouds of war had
lifted, and they basked in the sunlight of peace.

"I say, Fred," remarked Calhoun, "this is something like it; seems like
old times. Why did this war have to come and separate us?"

Fred sighed. "The war, Calhoun," he answered, "has laid a heavier hand
on me than on you, for it has made me an outcast from home."

"Don't worry, Fred; it will come out all right," answered Calhoun,
cheerily.

On the morning of the second day the boys met with an adventure for
which they were not looking. Even as early in the war as this, those
roving bands of guerrillas which afterward proved such a curse to the
border States began to appear. It was somewhat of a surprise to the boys
when four men suddenly rode out of the woods by the side of the road,
and roughly demanded that they give an account of themselves.

"By whose authority do you stop us?" indignantly demanded Fred.

"By my authority," answered the leader, with a fearful oath.

"And your authority I refuse to acknowledge," was the hot answer.

"See here, young man, you had better keep a civil tongue in your head,"
and as the leader said this he significantly tapped the butt of his
revolver.

Calhoun here interposed. "What is it you wish?" he asked.

"I wish to know who you are, and where you are going, and that ----
quick."

"That is easily answered," replied Calhoun. "As you see by my uniform, I
am a Confederate officer. I am on parole, and am on my way to my home in
Danville, there to wait until I am regularly exchanged."

"A fine story," said the leader. "And I suppose your companion is also
in the Confederate service."

"Not at all," replied Fred, quietly. "I am in the service of the United
States."

"You are, are you?" sneered the man. "I think both of you are
Lincolnites. We will have to search you, and I think in the end shoot
you both."

"Here is my parole," said Calhoun, his face growing red with anger.

The man took it, glanced it over, and then coolly tore it in two, and
flung it down.

"Any one can carry such a paper as that. Now, climb down in a hurry. We
want them horses, and we want you. Boys, it will be fun to try our
marksmanship on these youngsters, won't it?" and he turned to his
companions with a brutal laugh.

But the guerrillas made a great mistake; they thought they were only
dealing with two boys, and were consequently careless and off their
guard.

With a sharp, quick look at Calhoun which meant volumes, Fred quickly
drew his revolver. There was a flash, a report, and the leader of the
guerrillas dropped from his horse. With a startled oath, the others drew
their revolvers, but before they could raise them there were two reports
so close together as almost to sound as one, and two more of the gang
rolled from their horses. The remaining one threw up his hands and began
to beg for mercy.

[Illustration: Fred drew his Revolver, and the Guerrilla dropped from
his horse.]

"You miscreant you," exclaimed Calhoun, covering him with his revolver.
"I ought to send a ball through your cowardly carcass, to be even with
my cousin here; for he got two of you, while I only got one."

"Oh, mercy! mercy!" begged the trembling wretch. "I have a wife and
children."

"You have; then so much the worse for the wife and children."

"I am not fit to die," he blubbered.

"That is plain to be seen," answered Calhoun. "Now off that horse!"

The fellow obeyed with alacrity.

"Now hand me your weapons--butts first, remember."

The pistols were handed over.

"Now pick up that parole your leader tore and threw down, and hand it to
me."

This was done.

Calhoun sat eyeing him a moment, and then continued: "I ought to shoot
you without mercy, but I believe in giving a dog a chance for his life,
and so I will give you a chance. You mount your horse, and when I say
'Go,' you go. After I say 'Go' I shall count five, and then shoot. If I
miss you, which I don't think I shall, I shall continue shooting as long
as you are in range; so the faster you go, the better for you. Now,
mount."

The man looked appealingly at Calhoun, but seeing no mercy, mounted his
horse as quick as his trembling limbs would let him. His face was white
with fear, and his teeth fairly rattled they chattered so.

Calhoun reined his horse around so he was by the fellow's side. Then he
shouted "Go!"

The man gave a yell of terror, bent low over his horse's neck and was
off like a shot. Calhoun with a chuckle fired over him, and the fellow
seemed to fairly flatten out. Four times did Calhoun fire, and at each
report the flying horseman appeared to go the faster.

As for Fred, he was convulsed with merriment, notwithstanding the
grewsome surroundings.

"Leave these carrion where they are," said Calhoun in response to a
question from Fred as to what disposition they should make of the dead.
"That live companion of theirs will be back when we are gone."

They rode along in silence for a while, and then Calhoun suddenly said:
"Fred, how I wish I could always fight by your side. It's a pity we have
to fight on different sides."

"Just what I was thinking of, Cal," answered Fred; "but we have the
satisfaction of knowing we have fought one battle together."

"And won it, too," shouted Calhoun.

They reached Danville in due time and without further adventure. To say
that Judge Pennington was surprised to see them riding up together would
be to express it mildly; he was astounded. Then he had his arms around
his boy, and was sobbing, "My son! my son!"

"And Fred, too," said the judge, at last turning from welcoming his son.
"I am truly glad to see you, my boy. But how in the world did you two
happen to come together?"

And so the whole story had to be told, and the judge listened and
wondered and mourned over the defeat of the Confederates at Mill
Springs.

"My boy," said the judge, with tears glistening in his eyes, "at least I
am glad to know that you did your duty."

"Aye! he did that, uncle," exclaimed Fred. "If all the Confederates had
been like Calhoun, we might not have won the victory."

"Unless all the Federals had been like you," responded Calhoun
gallantly.

The judge would have both boys tell him the full particulars of their
adventures, and listened to their recital with all the pleasure of a
schoolboy. But when they were through, he shook his head sadly, and
said: "Boys, you can't keep that pace up. You will both be killed. But I
am proud of you, proud of you both, if Fred is fighting for that
horrible Lincoln."

It was a happy day Fred spent at his uncle's. It seemed like old times.
If bitterness was felt towards him it was not shown.

When it was noised about that both Calhoun and Fred had returned, they
were besieged with callers. The story of the battle of Mill Springs had
to be told again and again. Colonel Fry was one of the influential
citizens of the city, and especially were they eager to hear the
particulars of his killing General Zollicoffer.

Fred concluded to ride his horse to Louisville, instead of riding to
Nicholasville or Lebanon and taking the cars from one of those places.

"I must have Prince wherever I go after this," he said.

"Hello! my boy, is that you?" asked General Nelson, as Fred rode up to
his headquarters after a very prosaic journey of three days.

"It is no one else, General," laughed Fred, as he dismounted. "Here I
am, here is my good horse, Prince, and here is a letter to you from
General Thomas."

Nelson took the letter, read it, and looking up smiling, said: "I see
you still keep up your habit of doing something unusual. Thomas speaks
in the highest terms of your work. Then you were at Mill Springs?"

"Yes, General."

"Glorious victory! glorious victory! the first real victory we have
gained. Did you bring full dispatches with you?"

"Yes, General; I have voluminous dispatches for General Buell. I was so
eager to see you I stopped before delivering them."

"Ah, my boy, I believe you do think something of bluff old Nelson after
all, even if he has a devil of a temper," and the general kindly patted
the boy on the head.

Fred's eyes filled with tears. "You know, General," he said, brokenly,
"that you took me in, when my father cast me out."

"For the good of the country, my boy, for the good of the country," said
the general brusquely. "But, come, Fred, I will ride over to General
Buell's headquarters with you. I would like to see General Thomas' full
report of the battle."

They found General Buell in the highest of spirits, and Fred was given a
warm welcome. He looked over General Thomas' report, and his whole face
beamed with satisfaction. He asked Fred a multitude of questions, and
was surprised at the knowledge of military affairs which he showed in
his answers.

"I think, General," said General Buell, turning to Nelson, after he had
dismissed Fred, "that you have not overestimated the abilities of your
protégé. In a private note General Thomas speaks in the highest terms of
him. I shall do what you asked."

"Thank you, General," said Nelson. "Somehow I have taken wonderfully to
the boy."

What it was General Buell was to do for Fred, that individual was in
ignorance.

While in Louisville many of Fred's leisure moments were spent at the
hospitable home of the Vaughns. Mabel's betrothed was now at the front,
and it was astonishing how much note paper that young lady used in
writing to him.

"You don't write that often to your brother," said Fred, smiling.

"My brother?" asked Mabel, looking up in surprise.

"Yes, your humble servant; didn't you adopt me as a brother?"

Mabel burst out laughing. "Oh!" she replied, "one doesn't have to write
so often to a brother. Lovers are like babies; they have to be petted.
But to change the subject, where does my knight-errant expect to go for
his next adventure?"

"I don't know," answered Fred. "Things appear to be rather quiet just
now."

But events were even then transpiring that were to take Fred to a
different theater of action.



CHAPTER XVI.

FORT DONELSON.


Commodore Foote and General U. S. Grant sat conversing in the
headquarters of the latter at Cairo, Illinois. The general was puffing a
cigar, and answered in monosyllables between puffs.

"You have heard nothing yet, have you, General," the commodore was
asking, "of that request we united in sending to General Halleck?"

"Nothing," answered Grant, moodily.

There was silence for some time, the general apparently in deep thought.
The commodore broke the silence by asking:

"You went to see him personally once on this matter, did you not?"

"He ungraciously gave me permission to visit St. Louis in order to see
him, after I had begged for the privilege at least half a dozen times,"
Grant answered.

"And you laid the matter before him in all its bearings?"

"I tried to."

"What did he say?"

"Say! he struck me."

"Struck you?" asked the commodore, starting in surprise.

Grant smiled. "I mean," said he, "that he struck me metaphorically. I
don't believe he would have hurt me as badly, if he had really struck
me. I was never so cut in all my life. I came away feeling that I had
committed an unpardonable sin from a military standpoint."

"Then he would not hear to the proposition at all?"

"Hear it! He would not listen to me. I came away resolving never to ask
another favor of him. Yet so anxious am I to make this campaign that, as
you know, I swallowed my pride and united with you in making the request
that we be allowed to make the movement."

"It is strange," replied the commodore, "that he should ignore both our
requests, not favoring us even with a reply. Yet it seems that he must
see that Fort Henry should be reduced at once. If we delay, both the
Cumberland and the Tennessee will be so strongly fortified that it will
be almost impossible to force a passage. Everything is to be gained by
moving at once. Everything may be lost by delay."

"Even a civilian ought to see that," replied Grant, as he slowly blew a
cloud of smoke from his mouth, and watched it as it lazily curled
upward.

"The truth of it is," Grant continued slowly, as if weighing every word,
"too many of us are afraid that another general may win more honor than
we. Then there are altogether too many separate commands. Now, here are
Buell and myself; each with a separate command, yet both working for the
same object. I should either be subject to the command of Buell, or he
should be subject to my orders. We are now like two men trying to lift
the same burden, and instead of lifting together, one will lift and then
the other. Such a system can but prolong the war indefinitely."

"General," said the commodore, earnestly, "I sincerely wish you had the
supreme command here in the West. I believe we would see different
results, and that very soon."

Grant blushed like a schoolgirl, fidgeted in his seat, and then said:
"Commodore, you do me altogether too much honor. But this I will say, if
I had supreme command I should not sit still and see the Tennessee and
Cumberland rivers fortified without raising a hand to prevent it.
Neither do I believe in letting month after month go by for the purpose
of drilling and organizing. The Government seems to forget that time
gives the enemy the same privilege. What is wanted is hard blows, and
these blows should be delivered as soon as possible. Sherman was right
when he asked for 200,000 men to march to the Gulf, yet he was sneered
at by the War Department, hounded by every paper in the land, called
insane, and now he is occupying a subordinate position. The war could be
ended in a year. No one now can tell how long it will last."

Just then a telegram was placed in Grant's hands. He read it, and his
whole face lighted up with pleasure.

"You look pleased," said the commodore. "The telegram must bring good
news."

Without a word Grant placed the telegram in the hands of the commodore.
It was an order from General Halleck to move up the Tennessee as soon as
possible and capture Fort Henry.

"At last," said the commodore, his face showing as much pleasure as did
Grant's.

"At last," responded Grant; and then, quickly, "Commodore, we may have
done an injustice to General Halleck. There may be good reasons we know
not of why this order should not have been made before. Commodore, be
ready to move with your fleet to-morrow."

"That soon?" asked the commodore.

"That soon," responded Grant.

"General, I shall be ready; and now good-bye, for both of us have much
before us. But before I go, let me congratulate you. I believe that
success and great honor await you," and with these words the commodore
withdrew.

The next day, with 15,000 men, General Grant was steaming up the
Tennessee.

General Buell sat in his headquarters at Louisville. General Nelson,
accompanied by Fred, had dropped in to see his general, and at the same
time to give vent to some of his pent-up feelings.

"It's a shame, a shame!" he fumed, "for us to sit here and let the
Rebels fortify Bowling Green and Dover and Columbus, and build forts to
blockade the Tennessee, and we not raise a finger to prevent it."

Buell smiled at his irate general, and asked: "And what would you do,
Nelson?"

"Do!" roared Nelson, "do! I would strike, and strike hard. I would give
them precious little time to build forts."

Before General Buell could answer, an orderly entered with a telegram.
He read it, and turning to Nelson, said:

"Well, General, you can cease your fuming. This telegram is from General
Halleck. He tells me he has ordered General Grant up the Tennessee to
reduce Fort Henry, and he wants me to co-operate as much as possible in
the movement."

Nelson was on his feet in an instant.

"General," he exclaimed, "I have a favor, a great favor to ask of you."

Buell smilingly answered: "I think I know what it is without your
asking. You want me to send your division."

Nelson bowed.

"I do not see how I can spare so many men; you know we have Johnston at
Bowling Green to look after."

"But General," answered Nelson, "the Tennessee and Cumberland must be
defended. In all probability the most of Johnston's army will be
transferred there."

"In that case, General," answered Buell, "I will remember you. Your
division shall be the first one sent."

"Thank you, General, thank you," replied Nelson. "I only wish I knew I
was going."

"As it is now," continued Buell, "I shall order General Crittenden to
send Cruft's brigade. That brigade is near the mouth of Green river.
There is no force of the enemy, in any number, before them, and the
brigade can well be spared. I shall send no more men unless it is
absolutely necessary. I shall at once dispatch an officer to General
Crittenden with necessary orders."

"General," now spoke up Fred, "like General Nelson, I have a request to
make, and by your kindness I hope to meet with better success."

"Ah!" said Buell, "you wish to carry the orders. If Nelson has no
objection, I think I can grant that request. The general has told me
something of your history, Mr. Shackelford. General Thomas also speaks
in the highest terms of you."

"You can go if you wish, Fred," answered Nelson. "I only hope I shall
soon be with you."

So it was settled, and before night Fred and his good horse Prince were
on their way down the Ohio. Fred not only carried dispatches to General
Crittenden, but he had personal letters both from General Buell and
General Nelson to General Cruft commending him to the latter officer.

Disembarking at Owensboro, Fred made a swift ride to Calhoun, the
headquarters of General Crittenden. He delivered his dispatches to the
general, and at once sought the headquarters of General Cruft. The
general read Fred's letters, and then said: "You are very welcome, Mr.
Shackelford; you may consider yourself as one of my staff until such
time as General Nelson may join us."

Soon orders came to General Cruft to at once prepare to join Grant.

It was nearly noon on February the 14th when the fleet on which General
Cruft's brigade had embarked arrived at Fort Donelson. The place had
already been invested two days, and some severe fighting had taken
place. The weather, from being warm and rainy, had suddenly turned cold
on the afternoon of the 13th, and Fred shivered as he emerged from the
comfortable cabin of the steamboat and stepped out on the cold, desolate
bank of the river. The ground was covered with ice and snow, and the
scene was dreary in the extreme.

Now and then the heavy reverberation of a cannon came rolling down the
river, and echoed and re-echoed among the hills. A fleet of gunboats lay
anchored in the river, the mouths of their great guns looking out over
the dark sullen water as though watching for their prey. General Cruft's
brigade was assigned to the division of General Lew Wallace, which
occupied the center of the Federal army. Back in the rear little groups
of soldiers stood shivering around small fires, trying to warm their
benumbed limbs, or to cook their scanty rations.

The condition of the soldiers was pitiable in the extreme. There were
no tents; but few had overcoats, and many on the hard, muddy march from
Fort Henry had even thrown away their blankets. In the front lines no
fires could be lighted, and there the soldiers stood, exposed to the
furious storm of sleet and snow, hungry, benumbed, hardly knowing
whether they were dead or alive. Such were the heroes who stood for
three days before Donelson.

As Fred looked on all this suffering, he wondered at the fortitude with
which it was endured. There were few complaints from the soldiers; they
were even cheerful and eager to meet the foe.

About three o'clock the gunboats came steaming up the river and engaged
the Confederate batteries.

It was a most sublime spectacle, and held Fred spellbound. The very
heavens seemed splitting, and the earth shook and trembled from the
heavy concussions. Nearer and nearer the gunboats came to the batteries
until it seemed to Fred the great guns were vomiting fire and smoke into
each other's throats.

During the fight Fred noticed a small, thickset man sitting on his horse
intently watching the fight. His countenance was perfectly impassive,
and one could not tell by watching him whether he sympathized with
friend or foe.

For two hours the conflict raged. The boilers of the Essex had been
blown up, the other boats were bruised and battered and torn by the
great shots which had struck them, and were helplessly drifting down
the stream. The gunboats had been defeated. From the Federal side there
went up a great groan of disappointment, while from the Confederate
lines there arose the wild cheers of victory.

The silent man on horseback turned and rode away. Not a sign, not a word
that he was disappointed.

"Who is that man?" asked Fred of an officer standing by him.

"That, young man," was the answer, "is General Grant. He must be awfully
cut up, but he does not show it."

Fred turned and looked after Grant as he rode slowly away. "There,"
thought Fred, "is a man who is going to make his mark in this war. In
some of his actions he reminds me of General Thomas. Nothing seems to
excite him."

Night and darkness came. On the frozen ground, without tents or fire,
the soldiers once more made their beds. The wind sighed and moaned
through the bare branches, as if weeping at the suffering it caused.
Many, to keep from freezing, never lay down, but kept up a weary march,
so that the blood might circulate. The long hours dragged slowly along.

Over in the Confederate lines all was activity. A council of war was
held, and it was resolved that in the morning they would cut their way
through the lines of steel which Grant had thrown around them. All
preparations were made, every order given, and then they waited for the
light of morning--the last morning that hundreds would ever see.

It was hardly light when Fred was awakened by the fitful sound of
musketry over on the right. In front of Wallace's division only the
report of a rifle of a picket was heard now and then. Hurriedly eating a
little breakfast, he mounted his horse and reported to General Cruft for
duty. The men were all standing at arms, but there was nothing for them
to do. But over on the right the rattle of musketry grew more intense,
the roll of heavy volleys began to be heard, and then the deep-voiced
cannon joined in the chorus. Louder and louder grew the din of the
conflict. The smoke of battle began to ascend above the treetops like
smoke from a burning coal-pit. The sound of battle came nearer, the roll
of musketry was incessant, the thunder of cannon never ceased.

An officer wild with excitement came spurring his foaming horse up to
General Wallace.

"General McClernand wants help," he gasped. "The whole Rebel army has
attacked his division."

"I have orders from General Grant to hold this position at all hazards,"
replied Wallace. "I must have orders from him."

To Grant's headquarters the officer rides in frantic haste. The general
was away; he had started at five o'clock to see Commodore Foote, who had
been wounded in the battle of the night before, and was on board of one
of his gunboats, and the boats lay some five or six miles below.

Would not some one of his staff give orders to send reinforcements to
McClernand. No; none would take the responsibility. The officer groaned,
and rode back to McClernand with the heavy tidings.

Minutes go by, the thunder of battle is terrific. The Federals are being
driven. The exultant cheering of the advancing foe is heard above the
roar of conflict.

Another officer, with his horse bleeding from wounds, his hat gone, and
tears streaming down his face, rides to General Wallace. "For God's
sake, help!" he gasps, "or everything is lost; we are flanked, we cannot
hold out longer."

Then General Wallace said: "I will take the responsibility; help you
shall have." And with his face lighted up with joy the officer dashed
back to tell McClernand that help was coming.

An order comes to General Cruft to at once march his brigade to the
scene of action. No sooner is the command given than the brigade is on
the way. Soon shot and shell are crashing overhead, and singing bullets
begin to cut the twigs of the bushes around. Now and then a soldier
falters and goes down. A smooth-faced, florid man rides up to General
Cruft. "I am Colonel Oglesby," he says; "my brigade is being flanked on
the right. Let me lead you in position; my men are nearly out of
ammunition." And then as calmly as if on parade Colonel Dick Oglesby
leads Cruft's brigade to the relief of his men. Soon the brigade is in
the midst of the conflict. Here and there Fred rides carrying orders.
The excitement of battle is on him, and he feels no fear.

Oglesby's brigade is out of ammunition. Sullenly his men fall back,
leaving over 800 of their number dead and wounded on the field, but his
left regiment refuses to go. The colonel, a large, dark man, with hair
as black as midnight, eyes like flaming stars, rages up and down the
line like a lion. Fred gazes on him in admiration. He is typical of war
incarnate.

"Who is he?" Fred asks of a wounded soldier hobbling back.

"Colonel John A. Logan," is the answer.

At last his men are out of ammunition, and Logan, bleeding from two
wounds, is obliged to lead his regiment back. Another regiment takes its
place, and after a dreadful conflict, is compelled to fall back, leaving
over 300 of their number dead and wounded.

Cruft's brigade was now on the extreme right, cut off from the rest of
the army. The enemy pressed upon them; a withering volley sent them
reeling back. "Charge!" was the order. Fred spurred forward, and seizing
the colors of a Kentucky regiment, shouted: "Now, boys, for the honor of
old Kentucky."

The enemy flew before them like frightened sheep. But on either flank
the enemy pressed, and the brigade, combating every foot, was forced
back.

The enemy had gained the desired end; McClernand's division was out of
the way, the road to retreat was open. Why was it not taken advantage
of? Because of the imbecility of Generals Floyd and Pillow.

Broken, and with a third of its number dead and wounded, McClernand's
division is driven back on Lew Wallace. Officers, stunned with the
disaster, come wildly galloping through Wallace's lines, shouting, "All
is lost! all is lost!"

Wallace changes front to meet the exultant, advancing foe. Firm as
adamant his lines stand. In the faces of the charging Confederates his
men pour their crushing volleys. The enemy waver, reel, then go
staggering, bleeding back.

Where is Grant all of this time? In conference with Commodore Foote on
board of a gunboat six miles down the river. He is too far away to hear
the roll of musketry, and the thunder of artillery he thinks but
cannonading between the two lines. It is past noon when the conference
is ended and he is rowed ashore. There stands a staff officer with
bloodless face and shaking limbs. In a few words the story of the
disaster is told. Without a word Grant listens, and then mounts his
horse. The iron shoes of his steed strike fire on the frozen ground as
he gallops back. He arrives just as the foe is repulsed by Wallace's
division. His eye sweeps the field.

"Why, boys," he cries, "they are trying to get away; we mustn't let
them."

[Illustration: "Why, boys, they are trying to get away; we mustn't let
them."]

The words act like magic as they are borne along the lines. Cartridge
boxes are replenished, and the soldiers, who a few moments before were
in retreat, are now eager to advance. The lines are re-formed and the
army sweeps forward. This time it is the Confederates who are pressed
back, and soon the open road is closed. The chance to escape is forever
gone; Fort Donelson is doomed.

Darkness once more came, and with it another night of cold and
suffering. The early morning light showed a white flag floating from the
ramparts of the fort. Donelson had surrendered. Cold and hunger were
forgotten, as the soldiers in their joy embraced each other, and their
shouts of victory rose and fell like the swells of the ocean. The first
great victory of the war had been won.

Fifteen thousand Confederates were prisoners.



CHAPTER XVII.

AFTER THE BATTLE.


The sun arose once more on Donelson. The storm of the elements, as well
as of battle, had passed away. But the horrors of war remained. On the
frozen ground lay the dead with white, pinched faces. Scores of the
wounded had perished from cold and exposure. Some who still breathed
were frozen to the ground in their own blood. The cold had been more
cruel than the bullets.

Fred rode over the battlefield seeking the body of an officer in one of
the Kentucky regiments whom he had seen fall. The officer was a friend
of his father's. Where the last fierce struggle took place before the
brigade fell back, Fred found him. He was half-reclining against a tree,
and from its branches the snow had sifted down, as though trying to blot
out the crimson with a mantle of white. The officer had not died at
once, for the frozen hand held a photograph in its iron grasp--that of a
happy, sweet-faced mother holding a cooing babe. It was the photograph
of his wife and child.

With a sob Fred turned away, sick--sick at heart. He was choking with
the horror that he saw.

Fred's gallant act in leading the charge had been noticed by General
Cruft, and at the first opportunity he highly complimented his youthful
aid. But to Fred it now all seemed like a dream--something not real.
Could it be that only yesterday he was in that hell of fire, eager only
to kill and maim! He sickened at the thought.

In the afternoon he went to see the prisoners mustered. As they marched
along with downcast eyes, Fred saw a well-known form among the officers
which sent every particle of blood from his face. Quickly recovering
himself, he sprang forward, exclaiming, "Uncle Charles!"

Major Shackelford looked up in surprise, a frown came over his face, but
he held out his hand, and said, "Fred, you here?"

"Is--is father--a--prisoner--or--killed?" Fred's voice trembled, then
broke; he could not articulate another word.

"Your father is not here, thank God!" replied his uncle. "He is with
Johnston at Bowling Green."

"Thank God!" echoed Fred.

He now noticed for the first time a young lieutenant, his neat uniform
soiled and torn, and his eyes red with watching.

"Why, Cousin George, you here, too?" exclaimed Fred, holding out his
hand.

The young lieutenant drew back haughtily.

"I refuse," said he, "to take the hand of a traitor to his State and
kindred."

The hot blood flew to Fred's face, and he was on the point of making an
angry retort, but controlling himself, he replied, "As you please," and
turned away.

"Uncle Charles," he said, "I know you will not be so foolish. I am
sorry--so sorry--to see you here. Can I do anything for you?"

The major groaned. "No, Fred, no. I am heartbroken. Oh! the disgrace of
it! the disgrace of it!"

"Of what, uncle?"

"Of the surrender."

"You surely fought like heroes," gently replied Fred. "There is no
disgrace in brave men bowing to the inevitable."

"And that fight was the worst of it," bitterly replied the major. "Every
noble life lost was a useless sacrifice, sacrificed to the imbecility of
our generals. But, Fred, this surrender means more; it means the giving
up of Nashville. Oh, my family! my family! What will become of them?
They will be wild with fear; they will flee penniless--flee I know not
where."

Fred remained in deep thought for a moment, then looking up, said:
"Uncle, do you really fear for Aunt Jennie and the children?"

"I do. Nashville will be wild--terror-stricken; there is no knowing what
will happen."

"Uncle, if you wish, I will go to Nashville. Even if the city is taken,
there will be no danger. Your property will be safe if not deserted. As
you say, the greatest danger is in flight."

"Can you reach Nashville, Fred?"

"I think I can."

"Then go, and God bless you. I will write a letter to Jennie."

"Also write a statement for me," said Fred, "saying I am your nephew,
and that I am trying to reach your family in Nashville. It may be useful
to me."

A little later the letters were placed in Fred's hands, and bidding his
uncle a most affectionate farewell, he went to make preparations for his
journey. The next morning, provided with an order from General Grant
giving him permission to pass outside of the lines, he started. When he
was well beyond the pickets, he tore up his pass, thus destroying any
evidence that he was ever connected with the Federal army.

He had not ridden many miles before he began to overtake straggling
Confederate soldiers who had escaped from Donelson. Along in the
afternoon he suddenly came upon three cavalrymen. The horse of one had
given out, and the three were debating what was best to do. Seeing Fred,
and noticing that he was well mounted, one of them said: "There comes a
boy, a civilian, on a fine hoss. Why not confiscate him for the good of
the cause?"

"Just the thing!" exclaimed the other two. Without warning, Fred found
himself covered by three revolvers.

"Come, young man," said one of the soldiers, threateningly, "off of
that hoss, and be quick about it, too."

"What does this mean?" said Fred, trying to keep cool.

"It means the Confederate States of America have use for that hoss; so
climb down quick, and none of your lip."

"But, gentlemen----"

"No buts about it," broke in the soldier fiercely. "Do you mean to say
you refuse to contribute a hoss to the cause? You ought to be in the
ranks yourself instead of whining about a hoss. You must be a Lincolnite
or a coward. Get off, or I will let daylight through your carcass."

There was no use parleying; so without saying a word Fred dismounted.
The soldier in great glee, congratulating himself on his good fortune,
mounted. Prince laid back his ears, and a wicked gleam came into his
eyes, but as Fred said nothing, the horse made no objection.

"Say, boy," exclaimed the soldier, "you can have my hoss there; it's a
fair trade, you see," and with a laugh and a jeer they rode away.

Fred let them go a short distance, when he suddenly gave a peculiar
short whistle. Prince gave a great bound, then wheeled as quick as
lightning. His rider was thrown with prodigious force, and lay senseless
in the road. At full speed the horse ran back and stopped by the side of
his owner, quivering with excitement. Fred vaulted into the saddle, and
with a yell of defiance dashed back in the direction he had come.
Coming to a cross road, he followed it until he came to a road leading
in the direction he wished to go.

"Hi! Prince, old fellow, that was a trick those fellows weren't on to,"
said Fred, patting the glossy neck of his horse. "You did it capitally,
my boy, capitally."

Prince turned his head and whinnied as if he knew all about it.

Towards evening Fred fell in with some of Forest's troopers who had
escaped from Donelson and were making their way to Nashville.

The officer in command asked Fred who he was and where he was going, and
was frankly told.

"I know Major Shackelford well," replied the officer, "an honorable man
and a gallant soldier. I shall be happy to have you accompany us to
Nashville."

Fred preferred to make more haste, but remembering his adventure,
resolved to run no more risk, and so gladly accepted the invitation.

The news of the surrender of Fort Donelson had become known, and the
whole country was wild with terror. Consternation was depicted in every
countenance. For the first time the people of the South began to realize
that after all they might be defeated.

When Fred entered Nashville the scene was indescribable. The whole city
was terror-stricken. Women walked the streets wringing their hands in
the agony of despair. Every avenue was blocked with vehicles of all
kinds, loaded with valuables and household goods. The inhabitants were
fleeing from what they considered destruction. Sobs and groans and
piteous wails were heard on every side. Could this be the same people he
had seen a few months before? Through the wild confusion, Fred rode
until he reached the door of his uncle's house. He found the family
preparing for hasty flight.

"Aunt Jennie, how are you?" exclaimed he, holding out his hand.

Mrs. Shackelford gave a shriek, and then exclaimed: "Fred Shackelford!
where did you come from?"

"From Donelson and Uncle Charles," replied Fred.

Mrs. Shackelford turned as white as death, tottered, and would have
fallen if Fred had not caught her.

"Is--is--Charles killed?" she gasped.

"Calm yourself, Aunt Jennie; both Uncle Charles and George are well."

"Why--why did you come then? What has happened?"

"They are prisoners."

"Prisoners!" wailed Mrs. Shackelford, and tears came to the relief of
her pent-up feelings. "Oh! they will die in some Northern prison, and I
shall never see them again."

"Cheer up, Aunt Jennie. In all probability they will be exchanged in a
few weeks or released on parole. Here is a letter from Uncle Charles.
It will do you good to read it," and he handed her the letter her
husband had written.

When she had read it, she became calmer, and said, "He wishes me to stay
here."

"By all means, Aunt Jennie," replied Fred. "Stop these preparations for
flight; be discreet, and you will be as safe in Nashville with the
Northern soldiers here as if they were a thousand miles away."

Just then Kate came in, her vivacity all gone, and her eyes red with
weeping.

"Why Fred, you here?" she asked in surprise and with some hauteur. "I
thought you had turned Yankee. When I heard of it I vowed I would never
speak to you again."

"But you see you have," replied Fred, smiling.

"Are you sure the Yankees are coming?" she asked, ignoring Fred's
remark.

"Perfectly sure."

"Oh! oh! oh! what will we do?"

"Drive them back with broomsticks," replied Fred, mischievously.

"What!" asked Kate, opening her eyes in astonishment.

"My pretty cousin, didn't you tell me when I was here that if the
Yankees ever dare come near Nashville the women would turn out and beat
them back with broomsticks?"

"You horrid thing!" exclaimed Kate. "I will never speak to you again; so
there!" and she turned her back on him.

But when Kate learned that Fred had just come from her father and
brother she was eager enough to talk, and Fred had to tell the story of
Donelson over and over again. As they were talking, the clatter of
horse's hoofs attracted the attention of the family, and Fred, glancing
out of the window, saw his father dismounting before the door. The sight
completely unnerved him. He arose trembling in every limb, and gasped:

"Aunt Jennie, my father! I cannot meet him; he has forbidden it," and he
passed into another room.

Colonel Shackelford entered, and was warmly greeted by his
sister-in-law. He had but a moment to stay, as his regiment was on the
retreat, and the Federals were reported in close pursuit.

"I see," said he, "you have prepared for flight. I trust that you will
accompany my command until you reach a place of safety."

"We were going," replied Mrs. Shackelford, "but have changed our minds.
I have just received a letter from Charles, who is a prisoner, and he
has advised me to stay."

"Charles a prisoner, and a letter from him! How did you receive it?"
Colonel Shackelford asked in surprise.

Mrs. Shackelford hesitated a moment, and then answered, "Fred brought
it."

The colonel started violently, and then asked in a broken voice, "Fred
here?"

"Yes."

"How did he come? Tell me all about it."

So Mrs. Shackelford had to tell all she knew.

"I will see him," said the colonel.

Fred was told his father wished to see him; his heart gave a great
bound, as he rushed into the room with the cry of "Father!" on his lips,
and was about to spring into his arms when the stern command of "Stop!"
rooted him, as it were, to the floor.

"Before you call me father," said the colonel, sternly, "I want to know
whether you have repented of your folly, or whether you are here as a
spy. If I thought the latter, as sure as there is a God in heaven I
would be tempted to give you up to the authorities to be hanged."

If a dagger had pierced Fred's heart it would not have caused him keener
pain than the words of his father. He stood for a moment as if deprived
of the power of speech. Then the angry surges of an outraged nature came
to his relief, and his whole soul arose in protest to the indignity put
upon him.

"I have neither repented of my folly, as you call it," he replied
fiercely, "nor am I here as a spy. I came here on an errand of mercy at
the earnest request of Uncle Charles. Denounce me as a spy if you
choose; the act can be no more cruel than your words," and Fred turned
and left the room.

"Richard," sobbed Mrs. Shackelford, "are you not too severe with the
boy? At extreme peril to himself he brought a letter from Charles, and
his coming has been a great comfort to me."

Colonel Shackelford passed his hands before his eyes, and then groped
for a chair as if he had been smitten with blindness.

"Jennie," he replied in a low voice, trembling with emotion, "you do not
know the agony the course of that boy has caused me. Perhaps I was too
severe just now. Tell him I did not mean it. But I am half-crazed over
the terrible disaster at Donelson. In a few days, at the most, the
Northern horde will be here in Nashville. But," and his face lighted up
with enthusiasm, "all is not lost, Jennie; we will soon be back. I know
something of the plans of General Johnston. The army will concentrate
somewhere along the line of the Memphis and Charleston railroad,
probably at Corinth, and then before Grant and Buell can combine we will
crush them in detail. They think Donelson has broken our spirit; they
will find out differently."

Fred being only in the next room, heard these words, and they made a
deep impression on his mind.

Colonel Shackelford soon took his leave, bidding his sister-in-law keep
up courage, as the Northern army would soon be hurled back.

The panic in Nashville kept up until February 25th, when, to Fred's joy,
General Nelson's division came steaming up the river, and the city was
occupied by the Federal army. The stars and stripes once more floated
over the State capitol, and never again were they hauled down.

The alarm in Nashville in a great measure subsided, and business once
more resumed its way.

As for Fred, his delight at meeting General Nelson so soon was
unbounded. He had come to look upon him almost as a father, and the
fiery old fellow returned his affection.

Fred told the general of his aunt, and received the promise that he
would see that she was not molested or annoyed in any manner, and this
promise was religiously kept.

As long as he remained in Nashville Fred made his home at the house of
his aunt, and, notwithstanding his Yankee proclivities, became as great
a favorite with his cousin Kate as ever. When the time came for Buell to
advance, the family parted with Fred almost as affectionately as though
he had been one of them; and their sincere prayers followed him that he
might be preserved from the dangers of war.



CHAPTER XVIII.

"WE BOTH MUST DIE."


A few days after the surrender of Fort Donelson General Grant was
relieved of his command, and was even threatened with arrest. General
Halleck, in his headquarters at St. Louis, had worked himself into a fit
of what he considered most righteous anger. General Buell had ordered
one of Grant's divisions to Nashville, and Grant had taken a trip to
that city to find out the reason for the order. During his absence some
irregularities had occurred at Donelson, and Grant was most viciously
attacked by some anonymous scribbler, and then by the press. He was
accused of being absent from his command without leave, of drunkenness,
of maintaining no discipline, and of refusing to forward reports.

There was some ground for the last complaint. The telegraph operator at
Fort Henry was a Confederate in disguise. He coolly pocketed Halleck's
dispatches to Grant. He held his position for some days, and then fled
south with his pocket full of dispatches. General Grant was relieved of
his command, and General C. F. Smith, a gray-haired veteran, who smoked
a cigar as he led his men in the charge at Donelson, was appointed in
his place. The feeling against Grant was so bitter at headquarters, that
General McClellan telegraphed to General Halleck to arrest him if he
thought best.

The hero of Donelson deeply felt his disgrace, yet wrote to General
Smith:

"Allow me to congratulate you on your richly deserved promotion, and to
assure you that no one can feel more pleasure than myself."

Even General Halleck was at length convinced of the injustice he had
done Grant, and restored him to his command on March 13th.

In the mean time Grant's army, under Smith, had been gathering at
Pittsburg Landing, and Buell's army had been concentrated at Nashville.
The two armies were to concentrate at Pittsburg Landing, and then move
on Corinth, where the Confederates were gathering in force.

Not a thought seemed to have entered the minds of the Union generals
that the army at Pittsburg Landing might be attacked before Buell could
come up. Halleck, Grant, Buell, Smith, Sherman--all seemed to rest in
fancied security. If the possibility of an attack was ever spoken of, it
was passed by as idle talk.

General Buell commenced his forward movement from Nashville on March
15th. General A. D. McCook's division had the advance, General Nelson's
division came next. The bridge over Duck river near Columbia was found
burned. Buell set to work leisurely to rebuild it. It took days.

But to return to Fred. Just before the army left Nashville, General
Nelson placed in his hands a parchment.

"This," said Nelson, "is what General Buell and myself were talking
about in Louisville as a small reward for your service. Take it, my boy,
for you richly deserve it."

It was a commission as captain, and detailed him as an independent
scout, subject to the orders of General William Nelson.

"Why, General," stammered Fred, "I didn't want this. You know, you told
me it was better for me not to enlist."

"I know," responded Nelson, "but as you are with the army so much, it is
better for you to wear a uniform and have a rank that will command
respect."

So Fred became "captain" in earnest.

During his conversations with Nelson, Fred told him what he had heard
his father say to his aunt about Grant and Buell being crushed in
detail, and the general became thoroughly imbued with the idea that the
army at Pittsburg Landing was in grave danger. No other general shared
this fear. He chafed like a caged tiger at the delay in crossing Duck
river. At length he sought Buell, who laughed at his fears, and said
that he would not move until the bridge was completed. In vain Nelson
begged and pleaded.

"Why, Nelson, what's the matter with you any way?" at length asked
Buell.

"Matter? I will tell you," snapped Nelson. "Here we have been puttering
with this bridge for nearly a week, and all this time the force at
Pittsburg Landing is in danger of being attacked and annihilated."

Buell leaned back in his chair, and looking quizzically at Nelson, said:

"You seem to know more about it, General, than either Halleck or Grant.
Halleck telegraphed me that there is no danger of the force at Pittsburg
Landing being attacked."

"I don't care what Halleck telegraphs," roared Nelson, now thoroughly
aroused. "I tell you there is; I feel it, I know it."

"How do you know it?" asked Buell, showing considerable interest.

"Why sense tells me. Look at the situation. A small force encamped only
twenty miles from Corinth, where Johnston is concentrating his army.
Johnston is a fool if he doesn't attack, and no one yet has ever accused
him of being one. General, give my division the advance; let me ford
Duck river."

Buell was really fond of Nelson, despite his rough, overbearing ways,
and after some hesitation gave him the required permission. The life of
General Grant might not read as it does now, if that permission had been
withheld.

On the morning of March 29th Nelson's division forded Duck river, and
started on its forced march for Savannah, on the Tennessee river. On
this march Nelson showed no mercy to stragglers, and many were the
curses heaped upon his head. He was no favorite with his troops.

One day Fred found a boy, no older than himself, lashed behind a cannon.
The lad belonged to an Indiana regiment that in some manner had incurred
the displeasure of the general, and he was particularly severe on
members of this regiment if found straggling. The boy in question had
been found away from his command, and had been tied by his wrists to a
cannon. Behind this gun he had to march through the mud, every jolt
sending sharp pain through his wrists and arms, and if he should fall
life itself would be imperiled. It was a heartless, and in this case,
cruel punishment. Fred noticed the boy, and rode up to him and asked him
his name, and he gave it as Hugh Raymond. He was a fine-looking fellow,
and seemed to feel deeply his humiliation. He was covered with mud, and
the tears that he could not hold back had left their dirty trail down
his cheeks. Fred went to Nelson, begged for the boy's release, and got
it. It was but few requests that Nelson would not grant Fred.

When Nelson started on his march to Savannah he expected to reach that
place on April 7th. But once on the march his eagerness increased, and
he resolved to reach Savannah, if possible, by the 4th, or at least the
5th of the month.

On the morning of the third day's march Fred met with an adventure that
haunted him for years afterward. He never thought of it without a
shudder, and over and over again he lived it in his dreams, awaking with
a cry of agony that sounded unearthly to those who heard it.

General Nelson and staff had put up at the commodious house of a planter
named Lane. They were most hospitably entertained, although Mr. Lane
made no secret of the fact that he was an ardent sympathizer with the
South.

In the morning, as Fred was about to mount his horse to resume the
march, he discovered that he had left his field-glass in the room he had
occupied during the night. On returning for it, he heard voices in the
next room, one of which sounded so familiar that he stopped a moment to
listen, and to his amazement recognized the voice of his cousin Calhoun.
What could it mean? What was he doing there? One thing was certain; he
had been exchanged and was once more in the army. Calhoun and Mr. Lane
were engaged in earnest conversation, and Fred soon learned that his
cousin had been concealed in the house during the night.

"Have you learned what you wished?" Fred heard Mr. Lane ask.

"I have," replied Calhoun, "thanks to your kindness. I heard Nelson say
he would rush his division through, and that he wanted to be in Savannah
by the 5th. That is two days sooner than we expected. Johnston must,
shall strike Grant before that time. I must be in Corinth within the
next twenty-four hours, if I kill a dozen horses in getting there. Is
my horse where I left him, at the stable in the woods?"

"He is," replied Mr. Lane; "and well cared for and groomed. But
breakfast is ready; you must eat a hearty meal before you start."

Fred realized that the fate of an army was at stake. Something must be
done, and that something must be done quickly. Slipping out of the
house, he took a look around. Back of the house about a half a mile
distant was a thick piece of wood. A lane led through the fields to this
wood. No doubt it was there that Calhoun's horse was concealed.

Fred quickly made up his mind what to do. Mounting his horse, he rode
rapidly away until out of sight of the house; then, making Prince jump
the fence, he rode through the field until he reached the wood, and then
back nearly to the lane he had noticed. Tying his horse, he crept close
to the path, and concealed himself. He had not long to wait. He soon saw
Calhoun coming up the path with quick, springing steps. To Fred's great
joy he was alone. He let him pass, and then stealthily as an Indian
followed him. Calhoun soon reached the rude stable, and went in.

"Now, my hearty," said he, as he patted his horse, "we have a long hard
ride before us. But we carry news, my boy--news that may mean
independence to the Sunny South."

Strong arms were suddenly thrown around him, and despite his desperate
resistance and struggles, he soon found himself lying on his face, his
hands held behind his back and securely tied. His ankles were then
firmly bound together. When all this was done he was raised to his feet
and a voice said:

"Sorry, Cal, but I had to do it," and to Calhoun's amazement his cousin
stood before him, panting from his exertion.

For a moment Calhoun was speechless with astonishment; then his rage
knew no limit, and bound as he was, he tried to get at his cousin.

"I reckon," said Fred, quietly, "that I must make you more secure," and
taking a stout strap he lashed him securely to a post.

"Is this the way you keep your oath?" hissed Calhoun, and he spat at
Fred in his contempt. "Loose me, you sneaking villain, loose me at once,
or I will raise an alarm, and Mr. Lane and his men will be here, and
they will make short work of you."

Just then the notes of a bugle, sweet and clear, came floating through
the air.

"Do you hear that, Cal?" answered Fred. "You had better raise no alarm;
McCook's division is passing, and I have but to say a word and you
swing."

Calhoun ground his teeth in impotent rage. At last he asked:

"Fred, what do you want? Why do you use me so? Have you not sworn to
guard my life as sacredly as your own?"

Fred stood looking at his cousin a moment, as if in deep thought; then
an expression of keenest pain came over his face, and he said in a
strained, unnatural voice:

"Calhoun, believe me, I would I were dead instead of standing before you
as I do now."

"I should think that you would, if you have a vestige of honor left,"
answered Calhoun, with a sneer. "An oath, which an honorable man would
hold more sacred than life itself seems to be lightly regarded by you."

"I shall come to that directly," replied Fred, in the same unnatural
tone. To him his voice sounded afar off, as if some one else were
talking.

"Now, Calhoun, listen; you have a secret, a secret on which the fate of
an army depends."

"How do you know that?" asked Calhoun.

"I know. I heard you and Mr. Lane talking. Calhoun, you have been
playing the spy again. Hark! do you hear the tramp of McCook's columns.
If I did my duty I would cry, 'Here is a spy,' and what then?"

Calhoun's face grew ashen; then his natural bravery came to his rescue.

"I defy you," he exclaimed, his eyes flaming with wrath. "Hang me if you
will, and then in the sight of God behold yourself a murderer worse than
Cain."

"Calhoun, once more I say, listen. The information that you have you
shall not take to Johnston. Now, see how I trust you. What I do now
would hang me instead of you, if Buell knew. But I trust you with more
than life; I trust you with my honor. Give me your sacred word that you
will keep away from Corinth until after Buell and Grant have joined
forces; promise as sacredly that you will not directly or indirectly
divulge in any manner to any person the knowledge you have gained, and I
will release you."

Calhoun looked Fred in the face, hesitated, and then slowly answered:
"You seem to think I have more honor and will keep an oath better than
yourself. I shall make no such promise."

Fred staggered back. "Calhoun," he cried, "you do not, you cannot mean
it. You do not know what you say. Promise, for the love of heaven,
promise!"

"I will not promise, I will die first," replied Calhoun, doggedly. A
faint hope was arising in his mind that Fred was only trying to frighten
him; that he had only to remain firm, and that, at the worst, Fred would
only try to keep him a prisoner.

Calhoun's words were to Fred as a sentence of death. He sank on his
knees, and lifted his hands imploringly.

"Calhoun," he moaned, "see me, see me here at your feet. It is I, not
you, who is to be pitied. For the love we bear each other"--at the word
"love" Calhoun's lips curled in contempt--"for the sake of those near
and dear to us, for the honor of our names, promise, oh, promise me!"

"I tell you I will not promise. See, I spit on you, I despise you, defy
you."

"Then you must die," replied Fred, slowly rising to his feet.

Again Calhoun's face grew ashen. "Fred, you will not give me up to be
hanged?" he asked, tremulously.

"No, Calhoun, your dishonor would be my dishonor. I cannot keep my oath,
and have you hanged as a spy."

"What will you do then?" asked Calhoun.

"I shall shoot you with my own hand."

"Great God, Fred!" gasped Calhoun, shuddering. "You do not, cannot mean
that?"

"It is the only way I can keep my oath and still prevent you from
carrying the news that would mean destruction to Grant's army."

"Fred! Fred! you are a demon; you mock me. How can you keep your oath by
murdering me?"

"Calhoun, I swore to consider your honor as sacred as my own, to value
your life as highly as my own, to share with you whatever fate might
come. I shall keep my oath. After I put a bullet through your heart, I
shall put one through my own brain. _We both must die._"

Calhoun's face seemed frozen with horror. He gasped and tried to speak,
but no words came.

"Calhoun," continued Fred, in a tone that sounded as a voice from one
dead, "would that you had promised, for it can do no good not to
promise. Forgive me, as I forgive you. Now, say your prayers, for in a
moment we both will be standing before our Maker."

Fred bowed his head in silent prayer; but Calhoun, with his
horror-stricken face, never took his eyes from off his cousin.

"Good-bye, Calhoun," said Fred, as he raised his revolver.

"For God's sake, don't shoot! I promise." The words seemed to explode
from Calhoun's lips.

[Illustration: "For God's Sake, don't shoot! I promise."]

For a moment Fred stood as motionless as a statue, with the revolver
raised; then the weapon dropped from his nerveless hand, and with a low
moan he plunged forward on his face.

So long did he lie in a swoon that Calhoun thought he was dead, and
called to him in the most endearing tones. At last there was a slight
quivering of the limbs, then he began to moan; finally he sat up and
looked around as one dazed. Seeing Calhoun, he started, passed his hand
across his brow as if to collect his thoughts, and said, as if in
surprise: "Why, Calhoun----" Then it all came back to him in its terror
and awfulness, and he fell back sick and faint. Rallying, he struggled
to his feet, tottered to Calhoun, and cut the bonds that bound him.

"Go, go, Cal!" he whispered. "It will not do for us to be found here
together."

The two boys clasped hands for a moment, then each turned and went his
separate way.

When Fred joined Nelson an hour later the general looked at him sharply,
and asked: "What's the matter, Fred? Are you sick? You look ten years
older than you did yesterday."

"I am not really sick, but I am not feeling well, General," replied
Fred; "and I believe, with your permission, I will take an ambulance for
the rest of the day."

"Do, Fred, do," kindly replied Nelson, and for the rest of the day Fred
rode in an ambulance, where he could be alone with his thoughts.

That evening he asked General Nelson when he expected the division would
reach Savannah.

"By the 5th, if possible, on the 6th anyway," answered the general.

"Make it the 5th, General; don't let anything stop you; hurry! hurry!"
and thus saying, Fred walked away.

Nelson looked after him and muttered: "I wonder what's the matter with
the boy; he hasn't appeared himself to-day; but it may be he will be all
right in the morning. I shall take his advice and hurry, anyway."

The next day Nelson urged on his men with a fury that caused the air to
be blue with oaths. And it was well that he did, or Shiloh would have
never been reached in time to aid the gallant soldiers of Grant.

Buell saw no need of hurrying. He thought it would be a fine thing to
concentrate his whole army at Waynesborough and march into Savannah with
flying colors, showing Grant what a grand army he had. He telegraphed
General Halleck for permission to do so, and the request was readily
granted. In some manner it became known to the Confederate spies that
Buell's army was to halt at Waynesborough, and the glad tidings were
quickly borne to General Johnston, and when that general marched forth
to battle he had no expectation that he would have to meet any of
Buell's men.

General Buell hurried forward to stop Nelson at Waynesborough, according
to his plan; but to his chagrin he found that Nelson, in his headlong
haste, was already beyond Waynesborough, and so the plan of stopping him
had to be given up.

When General Nelson's advance was a little beyond Waynesborough, a party
engaged in the construction of a telegraph line from Savannah to
Nashville was met. A telegram was handed their general, which read:


     TO THE OFFICER COMMANDING BUELL'S ADVANCE:

     There is no need of haste; come on by easy stages.

     U. S. GRANT,
     Major-General Commanding.


Nelson read the telegram, and turning to Fred said:

"This is small comfort for all my hurry. I wonder if I have made a fool
of myself, after all. Buell will have the joke on me, sure."

"Better be that way than have you needed and not there," answered Fred.

"If we are needed and are not there, Grant can only blame himself," was
Nelson's reply.

At noon on April 5th Ammen's brigade, the advance of Nelson's division,
marched into Savannah.

Colonel Ammen reported his arrival, and said:

"My men are not tired; we can march on to Pittsburg Landing if
necessary."

The answer was: "Rest, and make your men comfortable. There will be no
battle at Pittsburg Landing. Boats will be sent for you in a day or
two."

There was to be a rude awakening on the morrow.



CHAPTER XIX.

SHILOH.


"The sun of Austerlitz" was neither brighter nor more glorious than the
sun which arose over the field of Shiloh Sunday morning, April 6, 1862.

Around the little log chapel, wont to echo to the voice of prayer and
song of praise, along the hillsides and in the woods, lay encamped the
Federal army. The soldiers had lain down the night before without a
thought of what this bright, sunny Sabbath would bring forth. A sense of
security pervaded the whole army. From commander down to private, there
was scarcely a thought of an attack.

"I have scarcely the faintest idea of an attack," wrote Grant to Halleck
on April 5th.

On the evening of the same day Sherman wrote to Grant: "I do not
apprehend anything like an attack upon our position."

Yet when these words were written the Confederate army was in battle
array not much over three miles distant.

But there was one general in the Federal army who was uneasy, he hardly
knew why. He was little known at the time, he never held a
distinguished command afterward; yet it was by his vigilance that the
Federal army was saved from surprise, perhaps from capture. This general
was Prentiss. A vague idea that something was wrong haunted him. The
ominous silence in front oppressed him, as something to be feared. Then
on Saturday a curious fact occurred. An unusual number of squirrels and
rabbits were noticed dodging through the line, and they were all headed
in one direction--toward Pittsburg Landing. What had startled them? It
set General Prentiss thinking.

To guard more surely against surprise Prentiss posted his pickets a mile
and a half in front of his lines, an unusual distance. At three o'clock
Sunday morning he sent three companies of the Twenty-fifth Missouri out
on a reconnoitering expedition. These three companies followed a road
that obliqued to the right, and a little after daylight met the enemy's
advance in front of Sherman's division. Thus the battle of Shiloh
opened.

When the first shots were fired, Preston Johnston, son of the
Confederate commander, looked at his watch, and it was just fourteen
minutes past five o'clock.

This little advance band must have made a brave fight, for Major
Hardcastle, in command of the Confederate outposts, reports that he
fought a thousand men an hour. It was after six o'clock when the general
advance of the whole Confederate army commenced, and the pickets along
the line of Prentiss' and Sherman's divisions were driven in. Preston
Johnston states that it was seven o'clock when the first cannon shot was
fired. It was eight o'clock before the engagement became general along
the whole line, and at that time portions of Prentiss' division had been
fighting for nearly three hours.

General Grant was at breakfast in Savannah, nine miles away, when he was
startled by the booming of cannon in the direction of Shiloh. Hastily
writing an order to General Nelson to procure a guide and march his
division up the river to a point opposite Pittsburg Landing, Grant left
his breakfast half-eaten, and boarding his dispatch boat was soon
steaming up the river. His fear was that the isolated division of
General Lewis Wallace, which lay at Crump's Landing, had been attacked.
Finding this not to be the case when he reached Crump's, he bade Wallace
hold his division in readiness and to await orders, and steamed on.

The roar of cannon had become almost continuous. Turning to Rawlins, his
chief-of-staff, Grant said:

"Rawlins, I am afraid this is a general attack. I did not expect it.
Prentiss' and Sherman's divisions are in front, and both are composed of
raw troops; but if we can hold them until Wallace and Nelson come we are
all right."

"It is a pity you did not order Wallace up when you were there,"
answered Rawlins.

"Yes," answered Grant, "but I couldn't make up my mind it was a general
attack. I am not entirely sure yet."

"It sounds very much like it," replied Rawlins, grimly.

When Grant reached the landing the battle was raging furiously, and all
doubts as to its being a general attack were removed from his mind.
Already the vanguard of what was afterward an army of panic-stricken men
had commenced gathering under the river bank.

A staff officer was sent back immediately to order General Wallace to
come at once. Grant then set to work quickly to do what he could to stem
the tide, which was already turning against him. Two or three regiments
which had just landed he ordered to points where they were the most
needed. He then rode the entire length of the line, encouraging his
generals, telling them to stand firm until Wallace and Nelson came, and
all would be well.

He found Sherman engaged in a terrific conflict. Some of his regiments
had broken at the first fire, and fled panic-stricken to the Landing.
Sherman was straining every nerve to hold his men firm. Oblivious of
danger, he rode amid the storm of bullets unmoved, encouraging,
pleading, threatening, as the case might be. Grant cautioned him to be
careful, and not expose himself unnecessarily, but Sherman answered: "If
I can stem the tide by sacrificing my life, I will willingly do it."

Then turning to Grant, he said, with feeling: "General, I did not
expect this; forgive me."

"Forgive you for what?" asked Grant, in surprise.

"I am your senior general," answered Sherman. "You depended on me for
reports; I quieted your fears. I reported there was no danger of an
attack. I couldn't believe it this morning until my orderly was shot by
my side, and I saw the long lines of the enemy sweeping forward. Forgive
me."

Grant was greatly moved. "There is nothing to forgive," he said, gently.
"The mistake is mine as well as yours. Neither did I expect this attack.
If I had, I could have had Buell here. As it is, Wallace and Nelson will
soon be here, and we will whip them; never fear."

"God grant it!" fervently replied Sherman.

By ten o'clock Prentiss had been pushed back clear through and beyond
his camp, and had taken position along a sunken road. General W. H. L.
Wallace's division came up and joined him on the right. This part of the
field was afterward known as the "Hornet's Nest."

Here Grant visited them, and seeing the strength of the position, told
them to hold it to the last man.

"We will," responded both Wallace and Prentiss.

Bravely did they keep that promise. For hours the Confederate lines beat
against them like the waves of the ocean, only to be flung back torn and
bleeding.

The roar of battle was now terrific. Both flanks of the Federal army
were bent back like a bow. Every moment the number of panic-stricken
soldiers under the bank grew larger.

Noon came, but no Lew Wallace, no Nelson. Turning to an aid, Grant said:
"Go for Wallace; bid him hurry, hurry."

Everywhere, except in the center, the Confederates were pressing the
Union lines back. But the desperate resistance offered surprised
Johnston; he had expected an easier victory. Many of his best regiments
had been cut to pieces. Thousands of his men had also fled to the rear.
The afternoon was passing; the fighting must be pressed.

A desperate effort was made to turn the Federal left flank, and thus
gain the Landing. Like iron Hurlbut's men stood, and time after time
hurled back the charging columns. At last the Confederates refused to
charge again. Then General Johnston placed himself at their head and
said: "I will lead you, my children."

The effect was electrical. With wild cheers his men pressed forward;
nothing could withstand the fury of the charge. The Federal left was
crushed, hurled back to the Landing in a torn, disorganized mass.

But the brave leader fell mortally wounded. For a time the Confederate
army stood as if appalled at its great loss. The thunder of battle died
away, only to break out here and there in fitful bursts. But the
respite was brief, and then came the final desperate onslaught.

With features as impassive as stone, Grant saw his army crumbling to
pieces. Officer after officer had been sent to see what had become of
General Lew Wallace; he should have been on the field hours before. With
anxious eyes Grant looked across the river to see if he could catch the
first fluttering banner of Nelson's division. There was no aid in sight.

An officer rides up, one of the messengers he had sent for Wallace.
Grant's face lights up. Wallace must be near. But, no. The officer
reports: "Wallace took the wrong road. I found him five miles further
from the Landing than when he started. Then he countermarched, instead
of hurrying forward left in front. He lost much precious time. Then he
is marching so slow, so slow. He will not be here before night."

For an instant a spasm of pain passed over Grant's face. "He
countermarched; coming slow," he said, as if to himself, "Great God,
what does he mean?" and then all was calm again.

Turning to Colonel Webster, he said: "Plant the siege guns around the
Landing. See that you have every available piece of artillery in
position."

And it was only this frowning line of artillery that stood between
Grant's army and utter rout.

"Have you any way of retreat mapped out?" asked General Buell of Grant.
Buell had come up from Savannah on a boat, and was now on the field,
viewing with consternation and alarm the tremendous evidences of
demoralization and defeat.

Turning to him as quick as a flash, Grant replied: "Retreat! retreat! I
have not yet despaired of victory."

Both the right and left wings of Grant's army were now crushed back from
the center. Around the flanks of W. H. L. Wallace's and Prentiss'
divisions the exultant Confederates poured. Well had Wallace and
Prentiss obeyed the orders of Grant to hold their position. From ten
o'clock in the forenoon until nearly five o'clock in the afternoon their
lines had hurled back every attack of the enemy. The Hornet's Nest stung
every time it was touched. But now the divisions were hemmed in on every
side. The brave Wallace formed his men to cut their way out, and as he
was cheering them on he fell mortally wounded. No better soldier than
Wallace fell on that bloody field. As for the two divisions, they were
doomed.

General Grant sits on his horse, watching the preparations for the last
stand. An officer, despair written in every lineament of his face, rides
up to him.

"General," he says, "Sherman reports that he has taken his last
position. He has but the remnant of one brigade with him and what
stragglers he has gathered. His slender line cannot withstand another
attack."

"Go back," quietly said Grant, "and tell Sherman to hold if possible;
night is most here."

McClernand's division had been standing bravely all day, and had
furnished fewer stragglers than any other division in the army, but now
an orderly with a pale face and his left arm resting in a bloody sling,
came spurring his reeking horse up to Grant, and exclaimed:

"General McClernand bade me report, that after his division had most
gallantly repulsed the last charge of the enemy, for some unaccountable
reason, the left regiments broke, and are fleeing panic-stricken to the
Landing."

"Go tell McClernand," said Grant, "that he has done well, but he must
hold out just a little longer. Wallace will be here shortly."

General Hurlbut, his face black with the smoke of battle, rode up.
"General," he said, in a broken voice, "my division is gone, the whole
left is gone; the way to the Landing is open to the enemy."

"General," replied Grant, without a quiver, "rally what broken regiments
and stragglers you can behind the guns, close up as much as possible on
McClernand, and hold your position to the last man."

Now there came roaring past a confused mass of white-faced officers and
soldiers commingled, a human torrent stricken with deadly fear.

"All is lost! All is lost!" they cry. "Prentiss and Wallace have
surrendered."

Grant's face was seen to twitch. "Oh, for Lew Wallace, for Nelson, or
for night," he groaned.

From across the river there came to his ears the sound of cheering.
Grant looked, and there among the trees he saw the banners of Nelson's
regiments waving.

Hope came into his eyes; his face lighted up.

"Go, go!" he cried to his aids, "go to Sherman, to McClernand, to
Hurlbut. Tell them to hold! hold! hold! Help is near."

But if Grant had known it the danger had already passed; for Beauregard
had given orders for his army to cease fighting. Night was coming on,
the capture of W. H. L. Wallace's and Prentiss' divisions had
disarranged his lines, and thinking that he was sure of his prey in the
morning, he had given orders to withdraw.

One brigade of the Confederate army did not receive this order, and when
Nelson's advance crossed the river this brigade was charging the line of
cannon on the left. These cannon were entirely unprotected by infantry,
and Grant himself placed Nelson's men in line as they arrived.

The Confederate brigade was advancing with triumphant shouts, when they
were met with a withering volley and sent reeling back. Then, to his
surprise, the commander found that of all of the Confederate army his
brigade was the only one continuing the fight, and he hastily fell back.
The battle for the day was over.

Alone and practically unaided the brave soldiers of the Army of the
Tennessee had fought the battle of Sunday and saved themselves from
capture. To them belongs the glory.

The battle of Monday was mainly the fight of the Army of the Ohio.
Without its aid Grant could never have been able to turn defeat into
victory, and send the Confederate hosts in headlong flight back to
Corinth. There would have been no advance Monday morning if Buell had
not been on the field. The whole energy of Grant would have been devoted
to the saving of what remained of his army.

The terrible conflict of the day had left its impress on the Army of the
Tennessee. There was but a remnant in line capable of battle when night
came.

The generals of divisions were so disheartened that the coming of Buell
failed to restore their spirits. Even the lion-hearted Sherman wavered
and was downcast. Grant found him sitting in the darkness beside a tree,
his head buried in his hands, and his heart full of fears. He had fought
as generals seldom fight. Three horses had been shot under him, and he
had received two wounds. When Grant told him there was to be an advance
in the morning, he sadly shook his head and said: "No use, General, no
use; the fight is all out of the men. I do not possibly see how we can
assume the offensive."

"Look here, Sherman," replied Grant. "Remember how it was at Donelson.
If we assume the offensive in the morning a glorious victory awaits us.
Lew Wallace is here; Buell will have at least 20,000 fresh troops on the
field. The Confederates, like ourselves, are exhausted and demoralized.
If we become the aggressors, success is sure."

Sherman became convinced; his fears were gone, his hopes revived.

Why was it that the fiery and impetuous Nelson was so late in getting on
the field? He was only nine miles away early in the morning, and had
received orders from Grant to move his division opposite Pittsburg
Landing. If there had been any roads there would have been no excuse for
his delay. But a heavily timbered, swampy bottom lay between him and his
destination. The river had been very high, overflowing the whole bottom,
and when the water had receded it left a waste of mud, from which all
vestige of a road had disappeared. To plunge into that waste of mud and
wilderness without a guide would have been madness. A guide, though
Grant said one could easily be found, could not be secured. So Nelson
sent a staff officer to see if he could find a practicable route. This
officer did not return until noon. All of this time the division lay
listening to the booming of cannon and eager to be led to the fray. As
for Nelson, he fretted and fumed, stormed and swore at the delay.

"The expected has come," he growled, "and here I am doing no more good
than if I were a hundred miles away. Might have been on the field, too,
if Grant had not kept saying, 'No use hurrying!' I knew they were a set
of fools to think that Johnston would sit down at Corinth and suck his
thumbs."

At length a guide was found who said he could pilot the division
through the bottom, but that the route was passable only for horsemen
and infantry; the artillery would have to be left behind. The division
started at one o'clock, the men keeping step to the music of the thunder
of cannon.

"This beats Donelson," remarked Fred, as the roar of artillery never
ceased.

"My boy," replied Nelson, "the greatest battle ever fought on this
continent is now being waged. God grant that we may get there in time.
It was rumored at Savannah that the Confederates were sweeping
everything before them."

"Your division will surely give a good account of itself," said Fred,
looking back, his eyes sparkling with enthusiasm. "See how eager the men
are, and how well they keep closed up, notwithstanding the mud. Half of
them are mourning because they think the battle will be over before they
get there."

"No danger of that," replied Nelson. "The question is, shall we be in
time."

Soon the roll of musketry began to be heard; then the cheers of the
combatants. A quiver of excitement ran along the lines, and every
soldier grasped his musket with a firmer hold. As they approached the
river cannon balls began to crash through the treetops above them; then
was heard the peculiar whir of the minie ball when it is nearly
spent--so close was the fighting to the river.

To Fred's surprise, he saw numerous skulkers dodging through the timber
on the same side of the river as himself. In some manner they had
managed to get across the river; not only this, but the boats which came
to ferry Nelson's troops over were more or less crowded with these
skulkers, who would have died rather than be driven off. In the river
were seen men on logs making their way across, and some of these men
wore shoulder straps.

So incensed were Nelson's soldiers at the sight of such cowardice that
they begged for permission to shoot them.

As they landed, Fred stood aghast at the sight before him. Cowering
beneath the high bank were thousands upon thousands of trembling
wretches. It was a dense mass of shivering, weeping, wailing, swearing,
praying humanity, each one lost to shame, lost to honor, lost to
everything but that dreadful fear which chained him soul and body.

As Nelson's advance brigade forced its way through the panic-stricken
throng, they were greeted with, "You are all going to your death! You
are all going to your death!"

"Back! back!" roared Nelson, purple with rage. "Don't touch my men; you
contaminate them; don't speak to them, you cowards, miscreants, you
should be swept from the face of the earth."

And in the fury of his wrath, Nelson begged for the privilege of turning
cannon on them.

With firm, unwavering steps, and well closed up, the division pressed
their way up the bank, and there were soldiers in the ranks who looked
with contempt on the shivering wretches below the hill, who themselves,
the next day, fled in terror from the awful destruction going on around
them. So little do we know ourselves and what we will do when the
supreme moment comes.

Afterward the great majority of the soldiers who cowered under the bank
at Shiloh covered themselves with glory, and hundreds of them laid down
their lives for their country.

Fred always remembered that night on the battlefield. From the Landing
came the groans and shrieks of the wounded, tortured under the knives of
the surgeons. The night was as dark and cloudy as the day had been
bright and clear. About eleven o'clock a torrent of rain fell, drenching
the living, and cooling the fevered brows of the wounded. Fred sat
against a tree, holding the bridle of his horse in his hand. If by
chance he fell asleep, he would be awakened by the great cannon of the
gunboats, which threw shells far inland every fifteen minutes.

At the first dawn of day Nelson's division advanced, and the battle
began. Fred acted as aid to Nelson, and as the general watched him as he
rode amid the storm of bullets unmoved he would say to those around him:
"Just see that boy; there is the making of a hero."

About eleven o'clock one of Nelson's brigades made a most gallant
charge. Wheeling to the right, the brigade swept the Confederate line
for more than half a mile. Before them the enemy fled, a panic-stricken
mob. A battery was run over as though the guns were blocks of wood,
instead of iron-throated monsters vomiting forth fire and death. In the
thickest of the fight, Fred noticed Robert Marsden, the betrothed of
Mabel Vaughn, cheering on his men.

"Ah!" thought Fred, "he is worthy of Mabel. May his life be spared to
make her happy."

On, on swept the brigade; a second battery was reached, and over one of
the guns he saw Marsden fighting like a tiger. Then the smoke of battle
hid him from view.

On the left Fred saw a mere boy spring from out an Indiana regiment,
shoot down a Confederate color-bearer, snatch the colors from his dying
grasp, wave them defiantly in the face of the enemy, and then coolly
walk back to his place in the ranks.

General Nelson saw the act, and turning to Fred, said: "I want you to
hunt that boy up, and bring him to me after the battle."

But the brigade paid dearly for its daring charge. A strong line, lying
down, let the frightened fugitives pass over them; then they arose and
poured a deadly volley into the very faces of the charging column.
Cannon in front and on the flank tore great gaps through the line. The
brigade halted, wavered, and then fled wildly back, leaving a third of
its number dead and wounded.

By three o'clock the battle was over; the Confederates were in full
retreat, and the bloody field of Shiloh won.

As the firing died away, Fred sat on his horse and shudderingly surveyed
the field. The muddy ground was trampled as by the feet of giants. The
forest was shattered as by ten thousand thunderbolts, while whole
thickets had been leveled, as though a huge jagged scythe had swept over
them.

By tree and log, in every thicket, on every hillside, dotting every
field, lay the dead and wounded. Many of the dead were crushed out of
all semblance of humanity, trampled beneath the hoof of the warhorse or
ground beneath the ponderous wheels of the artillery. Over 20,000 men
lay dead and wounded, Confederate and Federal commingled.

But Grant's army was saved. The fondest hopes of the Confederates had
been blasted; instead of marching triumphantly forward to Nashville, as
they hoped, they retreated sullenly back to Corinth.

But the battle brought the war to the hearts of the people as it had
never been brought before. From the stricken homes of the North and the
South there arose a great wail of agony--a weeping for those who would
not return.



CHAPTER XX.

"MY SON! MY SON!"


On Monday morning, just as the first scattering shots of Nelson's
skirmishers were heard, Calhoun Pennington presented himself before the
Hon. G. M. Johnson, Provisional Governor of Kentucky, on whose staff he
was. When the Confederates retreated from Bowling Green Governor Johnson
accompanied the Kentucky brigade south, and although not a soldier he
had bravely fought throughout the entire battle of the day before.

The Governor and General Beauregard were engaged in earnest conversation
when Calhoun came up, and both uttered an exclamation of surprise at his
forlorn appearance. He was pale and haggard, his eyes were sunken and
his garments were dripping with water, for he had just swum the
Tennessee river.

"Great heavens! is it you, Lieutenant?" cried Johnson, and he caught
Calhoun's hand and wrung it until he winced with pain.

"It is what is left of me," answered Calhoun, with a faint smile.

"You don't know," continued Johnson, "how glad I am to see you. I had
given you up for lost, and bitterly blamed myself for allowing you to
go on your dangerous undertaking. Where have you been? What has kept you
so long?"

"First," answered Calhoun, "I must speak to General Beauregard," and,
saluting, he said: "General, I bring you heavy news. Buell has joined
Grant."

Beauregard started and turned pale. "I feared it, I feared it, when the
Federals opened the battle this morning. I was just telling the Governor
as you came up that Grant would never have assumed the offensive if he
had not been reinforced."

"Oh!" said Calhoun, "if I had only been a couple of days earlier; if you
had only attacked a couple of days sooner!"

"That was the calculation," answered Beauregard, "but the dreadful roads
retarded us. Then we did not expect Buell for two or three days yet. Our
scouts brought us information that he was to halt at least a couple of
days at Waynesborough."

"So he was," answered Calhoun, bitterly; "and he would have done so if
it had not been for that renegade Kentuckian, General Nelson. He it was
who rushed through, and made it possible for Buell to be on the field
to-day."

"Do you know how many men Buell has?" anxiously inquired Beauregard.

"Three strong divisions; I should say full 20,000."

Beauregard groaned. All visions of victory were dissolved. "I thank you,
Lieutenant, for your information, although it is the knell of defeat.
Yesterday we fought for victory; to-day I shall have to fight to save my
army." So saying he mounted his horse and galloped rapidly to the scene
of action.

"This is bad news that you bring, Lieutenant," said the Governor, after
Beauregard had gone. "But tell me about yourself; you must have been in
trouble."

"Yes, Governor, serious trouble. At first I was very successful, and
found out that Nelson expected to be in Savannah by April 5th. I was
just starting back with this important information, information which
meant victory for our cause, when I was suddenly set upon and captured
before I had time to raise a hand. I was accused of being a spy, but
there was no proof against me, the only person who could have convicted
me being a cousin, who refused to betray me; but he managed to hold me
until my knowledge could do no good."

"It looks as though the hand of God were against us," solemnly responded
Johnson. "If you had not been captured, we would surely have attacked a
day or two earlier, and a glorious victory would have awaited us. But
now----" the Governor paused, choked back something like a sob, and then
continued: "There is no use of vain regrets. See, the battle is on, and
I must once more take my place in the ranks and do my duty."

"Must do what, Governor?" asked Calhoun in surprise.

"Must fight in the ranks as a private soldier, as I did yesterday,"
replied the Governor calmly.

"I shall go with you," replied Calhoun.

So side by side the Governor and his aid fought as private soldiers, and
did yeoman service. Just before the battle closed, in repelling the last
furious charge of the Federals, Governor Johnson gave a sharp cry,
staggered, and would have fallen if he had not been caught in the arms
of Calhoun. Loving hands carried him back, but the brave spirit had fled
forever. Thus died the most distinguished private soldier that fell on
the field of Shiloh.

One of the first acts of Fred after the battle was over was to ride in
search of Robert Marsden. He found him lying in a heap of slain at the
place where the battery had been charged. A bullet had pierced the
center of the miniature flag, and it was wet with his heart's blood.
Reverently Fred removed the flag, closed the sightless eyes, and gave
orders that the body, as soon as possible, be sent to Louisville.

As he was returning from this sad duty, he thought of the errand given
him by General Nelson to hunt up the boy whom they saw capture the
colors. Riding up to the regiment, he made inquiry, and to his surprise
and delight found that the hero was Hugh Raymond.

"Hello, Hugh! don't you remember me?" asked Fred, when the boy presented
himself.

"Yes, sir," replied Hugh, respectfully. "You are the young officer who
got me released when General Nelson tied me to the cannon. I have never
ceased to feel grateful towards you."

"Well, Hugh, General Nelson wants to see you again."

Hugh opened his eyes in wonder. "Don't want to tie me up again, does
he?" he asked, with a shiver.

"I expect so. He saw you capture that flag and he is awful mad; so come
along."

"General," said Fred, when he had found Nelson, "here is the brave boy
who captured the colors."

"That was a gallant act, my boy," kindly remarked Nelson, "and you
deserve the thanks of your general."

"It was nothing, General," replied Hugh. "It just made me mad to have
them shake their dirty rag in my face, and I resolved to have it."

This answer pleased Nelson immensely. He noticed Hugh more closely, and
then suddenly asked: "Have I not seen you somewhere before, my boy?"

"Yes, General," replied Hugh, trembling.

"Where?"

"On the march here, when you tied me by the wrists to a cannon for
straggling."

Nelson was slightly taken back by the answer; then an amused look came
into his face, and he said, in a bantering tone: "Liked it, didn't you?"

"Liked it! liked it!" exclaimed Hugh, with flaming eyes. "I was just
mad enough at you to kill you."

"There is the boy for me," said Nelson, turning to his staff. "He not
only captures flags, but he tells his general to his face what he thinks
of him." Then addressing Hugh, he continued: "I want a good orderly, and
I will detail you for the position."

So Hugh Raymond became an orderly to General Nelson, and learned to love
him as much as he once hated him.

Now occurred one of those strange psychological impressions which
science has never yet explained. A feeling came to Fred that he must
ride over the battlefield. It was as if some unseen hand was pulling
him, some power exerted that he could not resist. He mounted his horse
and rode away, the course he took leading him to the place where
Trabue's Kentucky brigade made its last desperate stand.

Suddenly the prostrate figure of a Confederate officer, apparently dead,
attracted Fred's attention. As he looked a great fear clutched at his
heart, causing it to stand still. Springing from his horse, he bent over
the death-like form; then with a cry of anguish sank on his knees beside
it. He had looked into the face of his father.

[Illustration: Springing from his Horse, he bent over the death-like
form.]

"Oh! he is dead, he is dead!" he moaned.

Bending down, he placed his ear over his father's heart; a faint
fluttering could be heard.

"It beats! he lives! he lives!" he cried, joyously.

With eager eyes he searched for the wound. A ball had shattered Colonel
Shackelford's leg, and he was bleeding to death.

For Fred to cut away the clothing from around the wound, and then to
take a handkerchief and tightly twist it around the limb above the wound
was the work of a moment. The flow of blood was stopped. Tenderly was
Colonel Shackelford carried back, his weeping son walking by his side.
The surgeon carefully examined the wounded limb, and then brusquely
said: "It will have to come off."

"Oh! no, no, not that!" cried Fred, piteously.

"It's that, or his life," shortly answered the surgeon.

"Do it then," hoarsely replied Fred, as he turned away unable to bear
the cruel sight.

When Colonel Shackelford came to himself, he was lying in a state-room
in a steamboat, and was rapidly gliding down the Tennessee. Fred was
sitting by his side, watching every movement, for his father had been
hovering between life and death.

"Where am I? What has happened?" Colonel Shackelford faintly asked.

"Dear father," whispered Fred, "you have been very sick. Don't talk,"
and he gave him a soothing potion.

The colonel took it without a word, and sank into a quiet slumber. The
surgeon came in, and looking at him, said: "It is all right, captain; he
has passed the worst, and careful nursing will bring him around."

When the surgeon was gone Fred fell on his knees and poured out his soul
in gratitude that his father was to live.

When Colonel Shackelford became strong enough to hear the story, Fred
told him all; how he found him on the battlefield nearly dead from the
loss of blood; how he bound up his wound and saved his life.

"And now, father," he said, "I am taking you home--home where we can be
happy once more."

The wounded man closed his eyes and did not speak. Fred sank on his
knees beside him.

"Father," he moaned, "father, can you not forgive? Can you not take me
to your heart and love me once more?"

The father trembled; then stretching forth his feeble arm, he gently
placed his hand on the head of his boy and murmured, "My son! my son!"
and they mingled their glad tears together. In the old Kentucky home
Fred nursed his father back to health and strength.

But another sad duty remained for Fred to perform. As soon as he felt
that he could safely leave his father, he went to Louisville and placed
in Mabel Vaughn's hands the little flag, torn by the cruel bullet and
crimsoned with the heart's blood of her lover. The color fled from her
face, she tottered, and Fred thought she was going to faint, but she
recovered herself quickly, and leading him to a seat said gently: "Now
tell me all about it."

Fred told her of the dreadful charge; how Marsden, in the very front,
among the bravest of the brave, had found a soldier's death; and when he
had finished the girl raised her streaming eyes to heaven and thanked
God that he had given her such a lover.

Then standing before Fred, her beautiful face rendered still more
beautiful by her sorrow, she said:

"Robert is gone, but I still have a work to do. Hereafter I shall do
what I can to alleviate the sufferings of those who uphold the country's
flag. In memory of this," and she pressed the little blood-stained flag
to her lips, "I devote my life to this sacred object."

And binding up her broken heart, she went forth on her mission of love.
She cooled the fevered brow, she bound up the broken limb, she whispered
words of consolation into the ear of the dying, and wiped the death damp
from the marble brow. Her very presence was a benediction, and those
whose minds wandered would whisper as she passed that they had seen an
angel.

Calhoun Pennington bitterly mourned the death of his chief. He afterward
joined his fortune with John H. Morgan, and became one of that famous
raider's most daring and trusted officers.

For some weeks Fred remained at home, happy in the company and love of
his father. But their peace was rudely disturbed by the raids of Morgan,
and then by the invasion of Kentucky by the Confederate armies.

After the untimely death of Nelson, Fred became attached to the staff of
General George H. Thomas, and greatly distinguished himself in the
numerous campaigns participated in by that famous general. But he never
performed more valiant service than when he was known as "General
Nelson's Scout."


THE END.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "General Nelson's Scout" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home