Slowly the oars fell to the row-locks, but each pull sent the boat swiftly ahead.
She was soon upon the little crew lying in the marsh.
Every finger of the hidden men touched the trigger of double-barrel guns, well loaded with buck.
Again the heavy oars dipped the water, and with a grand sweep were raised; when they fell again it was just beyond Elliott
“They can't keep up!”
said the officer in command to the oarsmen.
“No, sar; dem bucra ain't usen to rowing wid we.”
“Another boat coming,” said Ellliott.
The silence was broken now by the receding oars of one and the approaching oars of another boat.
Again the firm forefingers touch the triggers, but fortunately to no purpose; the second boat was well out in stream, and passed by. “A close rub!”
said one of the men, brushing off the water that fell from the sweeps of the first boat on his face, and the crew shoved out for another time.
This was at night, too. “He loves night work, and I don't,” said a stout young fellow sitting on the thwart.
The boat headed for Port Royal Ferry.
It was the Federal
picket, and had annoyed Elliott
“Halt! What boat is that?”
came from the Ferry
, in perfect imitation of the negro idiom, replied: “'Tis me, massa; heap oa man and oman run way to come to you, sar.”
A laugh was sent back.
Contrabands were coming; they'd bring news, &c. “Saxton
,” was whispered by the daring leader to his crew.
” was sent from oar to oar. “Haul in closer,” came from a second voice at the Ferry
, as a lot of soldiers gathered about.
Slowly the boat approached.
Gradually she exposed her length to the wondering Federals.
“We yeddy so much ‘bout Gen'l Saxton
A crash, lit with the flame of a dozen flashes, followed; a hail of buckshot scattered the Federal
Running and falling, they took away the dead and wounded.
leapt ashore, rifled the picket-house, and returned for another time.
The picket at Pinckney Island
was caught and put under guard.
, with detachments, started for the house.
Night found them about its enclosure.
A dread silence reigned as the two leaders posted their men and prepared for the assault.
rang through the old halls.
The enemy, completely surprised, attempted to escape from windows and piazzas.
Every avenue was cut off; they fell right and left as the terrible summons “surrender” was unheeded.
Down the front steps, hand to hand, pistol to knife, came Mickler
and a Federal officer.
On the ground the brave struggle was ended by the interference of one of the Confederates