added, “we are so closely watched.”
“Hurry up with that stuff on the wharf.”
The soldier gathered an armful and returned to the boat, obedient to the officer's order.
On the next trip, the soldier who had been baited to desert, occupied the stroke seat, another man was in the bow. The officer had suspected something.
For a moment he gave his. eye to the militiaman, and nodded with a finger laid on his lips.
But the slip, “there's many oa them.”
It rained hard the next day, and the fort boat was hauled under the wharf out of the rain while waiting for the steamer.
The officer (now dead) in command of Fort Johnson
was on the wharf, and seeing the dripping crew incautiously asked the Federal
officer to go to his quarters out of the rain.
Of course he accepted.
They passed the battery in charge of the artillery squad; a lot of shell and a few mortars lay in their way, all of which the Federal
noted, and while it rained, the courteous but thoughtless Confederate and his guest chatted at Headquarters (and of the houses on the beach). Finally the rain held up, and the Federal
departed, loaded up his boat and left for Sumpter
What induced the commander at Fort Johnson
to move quarters that very afternoon, is easily guessed; we, the non-commissioned mess aspiring to transport our beds and truck in the very house the Captain
had vacated so soon as he left.
Instead of a pile of official papers which dignified the table in the middle of the floor during the morning, and which caught the Federal
's eye before he left, we left a score of “old sogers” and a pile of pipe ashes, and went to bed. One of our mess had a cold and could not sleep well; about midnight he called out, “Who is there?”
then followed the jar of a door forced open, a quick dash of a man through the two rooms.
next to the one we occupied, a clatter of feet down the steps, followed by the discharge of the sentry's gun at Headquarters next door.
We sprang up, took our weapons and followed after.
The sentinel reported a man having come out of our house, and running by passed on to the beach.
We followed, found the track of a peculiar boot, well run down on the left heel.
We followed it step by step until we reached the creek that divided us from Morris island
There the boot-print was lost in the water.
While waiting, speculating and grumbling generally, the flashes and reports from Morris island
pickets were heard.
The guard were firing at a boat heading for Sumter
We returned and found that the back door of our house, which had been fastened inside by a combination lock, was forced open by the inserting of a bayonet, the triangular mark being plainly visible.
This was the noise our messmate heard.
Before the nocturnal visitor could reach the room he had been discovered and fled.
He would have