eakvega "I think you are correct in your view, Captain Passford, though probably he is of more service 249 to the Confederate government, as your father is to our own, than a score of sailors or soldiers; but modern civilization does not hold civilians as prisoners of war. Besides, he is doing so much to provide our vessels with prizes in the matter of cotton ships, that it would be a pity to take him out of his sphere of usefulness to us," added the commodore with a smile. "That is my name," added Christy, smiling at the earnestness of the skipper. "What am I to do, Mr. Galvinne?" asked Corny. "I hope you will not make a donkey of yourself before we have finished this business," added the executive officer for the time being. "Now have you looked at your orders?"
tiger joker 125
tiger joker 125 "You could hardly have supposed that a little gunboat like the Bronx was sent all alone on such a mission." Corny's first movement on board of the Vernon was to take the hand of Mr. Galvinne, whom he appeared to be congratulating on a promotion or appointment. The second lieutenant promptly handed his lists to the third lieutenant, Mr. Winter, who proceeded with the calling of the names. Corny and Mr. Galvinne immediately went below, and Christy concluded that the officer he had spotted as the traitor had been appointed to the little gunboat, either as first or second 122 lieutenant, and that they were making their preparations to go on board of her. In a few minutes they appeared with the steward of the ward room carrying their baggage. tiger joker 125 "Nothing more, captain," said the first lieutenant; and the stock of the other claimant mounted a little. The commander looked at the man; but he did not know him. Seated on the side of his berth he considered the situation very faithfully. The Bronx lay off St. Rosa's Island; she was on the blockade, evidently ready to trip her anchor, whenever occasion should require. In regard to her officers Christy only knew that Mr. Flint was in temporary command of her, in place of Mr. Blowitt, 115 who had become the executive officer of the Bellevite. The other officers must have been appointed for temporary service. "I think you need not be too particular about them; they have made their own nest, and now they must live in it," said the first lieutenant. "I admit the correctness of your conclusion." gta88 "The only objection I have to this as prison quarters is that Sayles and Nichols will be too 183 near them; but I shall keep a sentry over them all the time," said Christy. "But we have concluded to reverse the decision of the commander of the Vernon, and submit the 177 case to the flag-officer for final adjustment. In the mean time, I have taken possession of the steamer, and put all your confederates in irons. For the present, at least, I am in command of the Bronx, and I want my stateroom. With Dave's assistance, I must ask you to turn out of that berth." "We lie about south of what Mike calls the big house, a mile and a half distant from it. Make the boat's course north north-west, and you will strike the shore about half way between the planter's house and the fort. But when you get near enough to see both of them, you can land where you think best," Christy explained. "Then you have improved wonderfully since last evening," added Captain Battleton. "I should take him for a young man of twenty or twenty-one, but he says he is only eighteen. He is a very young officer to be put in charge of a steamer, for I understand that he is ordered 61 to the command of the Bronx. But then he has made a reputation as the commander of that vessel, which doubtless justifies his appointment." "I don't think it will, Galvinne. Behave like a gentleman, and we shall have no difficulty," added Corny. "You will find this man, and give him this paper. The names on it are those of disloyal men. Tell him to look out for them, and find out as far as he can who are true to the union." Dr. Connelly left him, and made his tour of inspection among the men. The steamer was still rolling heavily, and the prisoner found himself more comfortable in his berth than on the lower deck. He had not yet learned whether or not he was to remain confined in his present quarters, and when the surgeon returned from his tour, he asked him to inquire of the captain in regard to his limits. He was informed that he could go on deck for an hour in the forenoon, and an hour in the afternoon. It was nearly night and he did not avail himself of this permission. "It may be he was; I don't know about that. You say that we have met before, but to save my life, I cannot recall the time, and I am sorry to add that I do not identify your face as that of any person I ever saw before. I have the pleasure of introducing myself to you as Lieutenant Christopher Passford, commanding the United States steamer Bronx." "He could not have been disturbed until you spoke to him; and he might have ransacked the whole of the lower part of the house." "They were taken in arms, and therefore they are prisoners. But you lost all your commissioned officers but one in the affair on board of the Bronx, Captain Passford." c9bet99 "I did not see them there, Captain Passford; but it was your uncle's business to look after them, as he was doing in St. Andrew's Bay." "I don't think I am ever rash, mother; and if I have been exceedingly fortunate, it was more because the circumstances favored me than because I ran great risks," replied Christy very seriously, for he was sensitive on the point his mother had brought up. "Father has said a great deal to me on this subject, and I have always done my best to carry out his principles. It is not my fault that I have a friend at court, and have had opportunities that have not been offered to many others. But the tide may turn against me on my next cruise." 156 "What does he say in regard to me?" asked Christy. Dressing himself hastily, Christy hastened on deck, and to the bridge, where he found Mr. Flint, who informed him that the Bronx was off the South Pass of the Mississippi. The fleet of the flag-officer of the Western Gulf squadron had 306 gone up the river, with the exception of a single vessel, which had not been able to get over the bar. There were a few sail in sight. "I must ask you to report below, Mr. Passford," said the captain rather sternly; and perhaps he did not care to be charged with over-indulgence of his prisoner. In the official record of a certain regiment recruited up to the full standard, we find that 47.5 per cent of the non-commissioned officers and privates were under twenty-one years of age. We find a few in the list who were only sixteen and seventeen years. In this regiment, 8 we find two captains only twenty-one years of age, and three lieutenants who were only twenty. This regiment was exceptional in regard to age, though we find that over twenty-five per cent of several companies, taken at random, were under age. Even boys of fourteen and fifteen were enlisted as musicians, "drummer boys," and served out their full term. It can, therefore, be truthfully said, that those who were literally "boys" did their full and fair share in fighting for the union. Perhaps even a larger proportion of minors served in the navy than in the army; and the record of some of them could be recited to prove that in those days boys became men prematurely, and distinguished themselves by brave and daring deeds. He could not get in, and he walked around the building to find a window which had not been closed. His mother had a reasonable dread of robbers, and she always looked out for the windows before she retired. He did not wish to arouse the family by ringing the great gong bell, but it was too cold to spend the rest of the night out-doors in his half-clothed condition, for he was as liable to take a severe cold as any less brilliant individual, and he might have to spend a month in his chamber, instead of reporting to the flag-officer of the Eastern Gulf squadron, in command of the Bronx.
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tiger joker 125 187 "This is mean of you, Christy, to put me in irons," said Corny reproachfully as he turned to his cousin; "I might have asked Captain Battleton to put you in irons on board of the Vernon; but I did not." "They are awake there," said Christy with a smile to the first lieutenant, and both of them watched for the fall of the shot, which struck the water at least a quarter of a mile ahead of the vessel. "Beat to quarters, Mr. Flint." "He still complains that his head and his bones ache, so that I cannot say he is improving," replied Dr. Connelly. Thus prepared for any emergency, though none might come for years, he went on deck, and made 292 his way to the bridge, where he could get the best view of the approaching sail. He obtained his first sight of the vessel as soon as he reached the bridge, and saw that the sail was a steamer, much larger than the Bronx. She carried no sail, for the wind was from the west; but the commander soon realized that she was moving at great speed. "Ensign Gordon Fillbrook," replied Corny promptly. "I don't think we are getting ahead at all, Mr. Salisbury," said the captain, while the cousins were looking for their reports. 248 "I am amazed, and I fear the officers in charge at Brooklyn are not as cautious as they should be. Not long ago a steamer had to return to the navy-yard there because her machinery had been tampered with; and the enemy are putting men on board of steamers for the purpose of capturing them. Where is your cousin now, Captain Passford?" "He bears your name," said Mr. Pennant. "Were you ever there, Mike?" "It is all of two months since I had any news in regard to him. He is still a soldier and has not yet been promoted. His company is still at Fort Gaines; but he has been sent away once or twice on detached duty. He is not given to writing many letters; but the last time I was in Mobile I was told that he had again been sent off on some sort of secret service with a naval officer by the name of Galvinne. I do not know whether the report was true or not." On the lower floor nothing appeared to have been disturbed. In the parlor a gold watch, adorned with diamonds, had been left on the table by Florry, who had forgotten it; but it had not been taken. The burglar could not have helped 24 seeing it if he had explored the house as such gentry do on such occasions. In the dining-room no attempt to open the steel safe set in the wall, which contained a vast amount of silver, jewelry, money, and other valuables, had been made. In a word, wherever they examined the rooms, no sign of any depredations could be discovered. The burglar did not appear to have lunched in the pantry where some choice viands had been placed. The robber had certainly been very considerate, and had done no mischief either for plunder or diversion. He had evidently, in the opinion of Mrs. Passford and her son, undertaken a profitless enterprise. "The happiest moment I have had since I saw you last!" exclaimed the engineer, as he grasped the commander of the Bronx with his right hand, while he threw his left around the neck of his friend, and would have hugged him if Christy had not gently avoided such a "gush" in presence of the watch on deck. "I wish you were back in the Bellevite, Christy." "Not till you change your tone. I wish you to understand that I am in command of this ship, and I have my commission in my pocket. I intend to be treated with decency at least." Dave was the most assiduous of nurses, and had no little skill in attending to the wants of the sick. The young commander was made comfortable in a few hours, and Mr. Flint came below to see him at the end of an hour when he had performed his most pressing duties. He reported that Mr. Pennant's wound was slight, and did not disable him. Eight seamen in all had been wounded, and one of them was likely to die of his injury. porngoo They returned to the negro village, for the commander of the expedition did not feel as though he had yet finished his mission on shore. "It was a superfluous question, for I know all about him. He is the captain of the Floridian, though that would not make him a combatant unless he fights his ship; and that is what he did on board of the Magnolia. I regard him and his companions, except the skipper of the sloop, as prisoners of war. You proved by your words and conduct that you were not a combatant, and you are at liberty to depart when you please." "I don't see that we can help ourselves," 212 replied the spokesman in a surly tone; for the prospect before him was not very pleasant, especially as a volley had been fired from the sloop, presumably by his order, for he was the one who had made the threat in the first place. "All right, Captain Flanger." "On board the ferry-boat!" replied the man, resting on his oars. "With their arms locked together behind them, they are not in condition to do any harm," added Mr. Flint. The Bronx continued to dart ahead at her best speed, and no sound came from the fort. It was only a question of minutes now before the steamer reached a point inside of the island where she could accomplish her mission by the capture of the Sphinx. The officers remained on deck, but they were protected by the bulwarks, the masts, and especially under the shelter of the top-gallant forecastle. Christy had earnestly warned the second and third lieutenants not to expose themselves needlessly to the musketry of the fort, and Mr. Flint was discreet enough to need no such warning. "I beg your pardon, Captain Flanger; but do I understand that you intend, single-handed and alone, to capture the Bronx?" asked the commander, with a smile of incredulity on his face. "They were taken in arms, and therefore they are prisoners. But you lost all your commissioned officers but one in the affair on board of the Bronx, Captain Passford." dafax10iwallet Camden was called aft and formally appointed second lieutenant, but Ralph was in the watch below, and was in his hammock. The commander retired to his stateroom, and, letting his report wait till another day, he was soon sound asleep. "I think the Russian said so." Christy was still clothed in the frock and cap of a common sailor, and he realized that it was time for him to put on his uniform. He went to the quarters of the men where he had concealed his valise, and carried it back to the cabin, where he proceeded to make the change. In a short time he had put himself in proper condition to take his place on the quarter-deck in command when his presence was required. He had nothing to do at present, and he concluded to write his report of the remarkable proceedings on board since the 175 Bronx left the station. He wanted his desk, and he went to the stateroom. "A considerable number of officers and seamen must have come with you in the Vixen and the other vessels," said the captain, raising his finger to indicate that the question was addressed to Christy. "I studied history a little in relation to this subject, for I wanted to know whether any lies I might tell in serving my country were to be registered against me. I know that I would not tell a lie in the ordinary relations of life; but I am sure that I should have been a traitor to the union if I had told the enemy the simple truth on several 109 occasions. I captured a schooner loaded with cotton by pretending to be what I was not. If it is justifiable to kill a man in war, it must be justifiable to tell a lie to the enemy." "I will take care of that part of the matter if you will put me alongside the steamer," answered Christy. "No more talk, if you please, for you are wasting your wind." tiger joker 125 Though the young officer was prudent and discreet, he did not lose his self-possession, and he smiled as though he had been simply the host in the dining-room of the mansion at Bonnydale. There was a certain humor about the intruder which would have pleased him under other circumstances. "Stand! Who comes there?" said the sentinel. This was a lead weighing twenty pounds, which is dropped on the bottom by men-of-war to determine if the anchor holds, or if the vessel is drifting. "Why do you say that we have struck the right man, Mike?" asked Mr. Pennant, caring little for the former relations of the two men. "He could not have been disturbed until you spoke to him; and he might have ransacked the whole of the lower part of the house."
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tiger joker 125 He made the attempt to do so, but he would have fallen to the floor, with his hands fastened behind him, if Christy and Dave had not received him in their arms. The steward hugged him like a brother, perhaps maliciously, and carried him to a divan in the cabin. Corny had apparently abandoned his cause, and his cousin gave him a berth in the ward room for the rest of the night. "Shut the door, Mike," said the officer, in order to prevent the light from being seen. "Excuse me, Captain Battleton; may I ask a question?" interposed the first lieutenant. "He did not, and perhaps I have made a mistake, though my superior officer told me at the yard that it would be safe for me to obey the verbal order," replied Captain Battleton, looking somewhat troubled. It was some little time before Mr. Galvinne presented himself, for probably he did not feel bound to obey the orders of the bogus captain with especial promptness. However, he came after a quarter of an hour, and seated himself familiarly in an arm-chair at the table. He had the bearing of the superior officer, to which Corny made no objection. "He is quite safe; he is a prisoner of war below, with a pair of handcuffs on his wrists," replied Christy. "You and he together made the nest for him, and he must sleep in it. I cannot say what the commodore will do with you." "Where does she lie now?" "The only objection I have to this as prison quarters is that Sayles and Nichols will be too 183 near them; but I shall keep a sentry over them all the time," said Christy. "I was not; I had nothing to do with the sloop. She belonged to Captain Flanger." Ralph Pennant and three seamen conducted the other prisoners to their quarters. They were supplied with blankets, in which those from the deck wrapped themselves up. Corny and Galvin began 189 to compare notes at once; but Boxie kept his ears open as he marched up and down within two feet of his charge. "And you were as stupid as an Alabama mule when you snapped at me for doing so in the presence of some of the sailors," replied Corny, with considerable spirit; and Christy, who heard all that was said, was glad to have him maintain the dignity of the family in his new situation. After half an hour of questioning, Corny was sent to the ward room, and Christy was called to 78 the captain's cabin. About the same questions were put to him as to his cousin; but both of them were prompt in their answers. In the last two years, Corny had been more at Bonnydale than Christy, and he was quite as much at home there, so that there was no reason why he should not be able to describe the mansion and its surroundings as accurately as the genuine Lieutenant Passford. รบโปร10รบ100 "That sounds like a story for a novel," added the planter, smiling. "I tell you the truth, Dave; but things are mixed," added Christy. The surgeon was satisfied with this evidence. tiger joker 125 When he rushed back to the cabin, Flanger had got the better of his foe, and had risen to his feet, with his grasp upon the throat of the steward. Then he hurled him from him with a vigorous movement with his left hand, while he raised the right with the evident intention of shooting him. The commander saw the imminent peril of Dave; he took a hasty aim and fired before the intruder had time to do so. He was a good shot with the navy revolver, for he had taken lessons and practised a good deal with the weapon. "Did she?" added Paul with a gush. "Then she has not forgotten all about me. I almost wish I were not an engineer, for then I might be sent home once in a while in charge of a prize." After he found that the sick officer was his cousin Corny Passford, Christy began to apprehend 73 the object of his southern relative in presenting himself as the bearer of his name and rank in the navy, though he had no time to consider the subject. Corny had given him no opportunity to look the matter over, for he had talked most of the time as opportunity was presented. "If there had been no setback, Corny would have gone into Pensacola Bay in a few hours more, in nominal command of the steamer, though of course Galvinne was the real commander." "I wish to introduce a gentleman to you; Lieutenant Passford, let me make you acquainted with Lieutenant Passford," said the commander as he led the way into the captain's cabin. "Oh, yes; he has told me about some of his exploits; and as he seems to forget his aches when he speaks of them, I have encouraged him to talk as much as possible." "The other men in the sloop, with the exception of the skipper, fired upon my boat, and wounded an officer and a seaman." luckypro เวบ "Very easily, I think." "We may not be able to help ourselves." Christy found a rope hanging over the side, to 36 which the boatman attached his valise, the young officer going up the line hand over hand as though he was used to that sort of thing. The oarsman secured his five-dollar bill, and Christy hauled up his valise. He felt that he had saved himself from the dishonor of failing to obey his orders, and he looked about him for some one who would be able to explain to him how the steamer happened to be sailing two hours before the time named in his orders. Three or four sailors were at work in the waist, where the lieutenant came on board; and Christy was not a little astonished to observe that Walsh, the absconding man-servant, was one of them. "The flag officer has not told me yet what he is about, and I am not good at guessing, though I am a Yankee," replied the man chuckling, as though he believed he had said something funny. "I am only sorry that he is fighting on the wrong side," added Christy, as he observed the 347 earnestness of the officer in the discharge of his duty. "Is he an old man?" "Ensign Gordon Fillbrook," replied Corny promptly. "We lie about south of what Mike calls the big house, a mile and a half distant from it. Make the boat's course north north-west, and you will strike the shore about half way between the planter's house and the fort. But when you get near enough to see both of them, you can land where you think best," Christy explained. "But I have no uniform, Captain Passford," suggested the appointee. "Good-evening, Captain Passford; I hope you are all right. I waited a reasonable time for you to come below to supper; but as you did not appear, I have made myself at home, for my appetite has been somewhat stimulated to-day," said the stranger.
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tiger joker 125 "I do not ask for it, though of course I am anxious to have the truth come out, for just now I am in disgrace as an impostor, to say nothing of being regarded as an enemy of the union," replied Christy. "He who occupies a stateroom in the steamer is my own cousin, and the pleasantest relations have always subsisted between our families. I have nothing against him personally, and I would do him a kindness as readily as ever before in my life." He was carried to his stateroom by his officers, and the doctor examined his last wound. He was 359 restored to consciousness, but he looked like death itself beneath the ruddy brown of his weather-beaten face. "I was not; I had nothing to do with the sloop. She belonged to Captain Flanger." "I think you ought to know it by this time, Captain Passford," answered Dave; and the remark was enough to condemn the impostor in the opinion of the servant. "You lived in here when you were in command of the vessel." "We shall be too far in for her to do us any harm, for the water has not less than four fathoms anywhere along the shore of St. Rosa's Island." "Quartermaster Camden. He commanded a three-masted schooner in the coal trade. He is not college educated, but he is a remarkably well-informed man who shipped in the navy to learn the details of duty on board of a man-of-war." "You were very unwise to order these men to fire upon the boat," said the dignified gentleman, addressing the man on the forecastle of the Magnolia; "it was a great mistake, Captain Flanger." CHAPTER I A MYSTERIOUS VISITATION luckypro เวบ Colonel Passford was reclining on the divan when the commander entered the cabin; but he rose to his feet as soon as he saw his nephew. Christy thought he looked thinner and paler than when he had last seen him. He was now only forty-two years old, but he looked like a man of fifty. "We have no surgeon, I believe, for Dr. Spokeley 173 is sick, and was to be sent home before I left in the Vixen for New York," added the commander, now restored to his own right on board. At this time the preparations for the reduction of the forts on the Mississippi were in progress, and every available vessel was called into activity. The Bronx had been built for a blockade-runner, and for a steamer of her size she was of exceptional speed. The vessels of the Eastern Gulf squadron were employed to a considerable extent in destroying salt works on the west coast of Florida; but the commodore was not disposed to order the fleet little gunboat upon such service. CHAPTER VI THE CONFERENCE IN THE CAPTAIN'S CABIN "I don't believe you will find many hands down here, Mr. Pennant," said Mike in a whisper. "Only twenty, sar; all gone ober to New Orleans, sar." 308 "This is not a cotton-growing region, but is given up to sugar raising," added Christy. "They have to bring the cotton a long distance in order to ship it here." รบเครดตฟร30 "I was in New York, preparing to come on board of the Vernon." The prisoner was disposed to make further resistance, but two men fell upon him and made him fast to one of the thwarts. The leader of the party, as he appeared to be from the first, could do no further mischief, and the lieutenant gave his attention to the others on board of the sloop. The dignified gentleman, who was dressed in black clothes, though they had suffered not a little from contact with grease and tar, had seated himself in the standing room. He looked like a man of many sorrows, and his expression indicated that he was suffering from some cause not apparent. tiger joker 125 "I am, uncle Homer," replied the young man. The little gunboat had certainly done a great deal of mischief to the Confederate interests, for she had captured two valuable vessels intended for the southern navy, to say nothing of half a dozen others loaded with cotton, and ready to sail. From the Confederate point of view, it was exceedingly desirable that she should be prevented from doing any further injury to the maritime interests of the South. But it seemed almost incredible that Corny Passford should be employed to bring about her capture by stratagem. His cousin was not a sailor; at least, he had not been one the last time he had met him, and it was hardly possible that he had learned seamanship, navigation, and naval tactics in so short a time, and so far as Christy knew, with little practical experience. "I think you told me that you had had some experience on board of steamers, Pennant," replied Christy.
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jarvishack In his youth the author used to listen to the stories of several aged Revolutionary pensioners, one of whom had slept in the snows of Valley Forge, another who had been confined on board of the Jersey prison-ship, and a third who had been with Washington at the surrender of Cornwallis. Not one lives to-day who fought in the battles of the Revolution; but a multitude of those who trod the battle-fields of the war that was finished twenty-seven years ago have taken their places, and have become as interesting to the present generation as the heroes of former wars were to the fathers and grandfathers of the boys and girls of to-day. "I can say with entire confidence that I was in command of the Vixen," added Christy. At the principal entrance of the fort they were challenged by the sentinel. Mr. Pennant was somewhat afraid his northern dialect would betray him, for he was not a highly educated man, though he was exceedingly well informed in all matters pertaining to the duties of a shipmaster.
betslot "I don't quite understand this matter," said the surgeon. "What are you doing, Mr. Passford?" "That is all I have to say about him. I studied the skipper of the sloop and watched him. I am sure he did not fire a musket, and he seemed to take no part in the affairs of the men on board. Captain Flanger is the active man of the party; but I have no idea who or what he is. If you look at the skipper, you will see that he is an octoroon, or something between a mulatto and a white man, and in my opinion he is not a cheerful worker on that side of the house. Perhaps the skipper will be willing to tell you who and what the party are. They claimed to be private citizens, and that the sloop was bound to Appalachicola; perhaps the gentleman in black can explain the mission of the party." "You think that method would suit you better than the usual one of delivering orders verbally," said Christy, laughing as much at the coolness as at the impudence of his companion. "Are those four very large,—long as this cabin is wide?" asked the lieutenant with interest.
vegus666 "He said he believed you were bony fido commander of the Bronx, and he is ready to obey your orders. Mr. Flint had a talk with him while the first lieutenant was below; he talked to Boxie, and three more of the men, and he did it mighty sly, too, for the third lieutenant was on the deck all the time. There's eight bells, Massa Christy, and the second lieutenant will have the deck." "You must excuse me, Mr. Blowitt, for I am sailing under sealed orders, and the commodore hurried me off as soon as I returned with the Bronx from St. Andrew's Bay; and I do not know that my mission admits of any delay," said 297 Christy. "I have a prisoner on board, and I want to get rid of him, for he is a dangerous character;" and he briefly related the incident of the evening with Captain Flanger.
wallet jaidee88 After he found that the sick officer was his cousin Corny Passford, Christy began to apprehend 73 the object of his southern relative in presenting himself as the bearer of his name and rank in the navy, though he had no time to consider the subject. Corny had given him no opportunity to look the matter over, for he had talked most of the time as opportunity was presented. "That is not my name, sir; and I refer you to the ship's papers to prove it. I am not the man to be ashamed of my name, which is not Welch or Walsh, sir, if you will excuse me for saying so." "All right; get him up if you can. Is he able to walk?"