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[139] boat ashore that he might go aboard. Just as he was in the act of doing so, however, as previously agreed upon by Randolph and myself, I leaped into and pushed the boat off, saying: ‘Lieutenant, I will return at 11 o'clock to-night.’ Bowie smiled and said: ‘That fellow Wiltshire is the devil.’ I was then, for the first time in my life, commander of a gunboat, and I showed my authority by ordering Long to pull for the Tennant Landing. It was still light and I had not gone far from under the bushes along the shore when I discovered that it was too light for our safety. So we had to rest on our oars until darkness covered us, for the enemy's gunboats were actively scouring the river in search of blockade runners. We again pulled for our objective point, making the run in good order and without incident. On landing, much to our surprise and delight, we discovered a beautiful little cutter lying high and dry on the beach, as though she were put there for our special use. At any rate, I so construed the providence and put her in commission, making with Longs's quite a little flotilla. I found the boys waiting rather impatiently for our return; and when I informed them of the change made in the programme, those who were left out in the detail grew indignant. I gave them my regrets and the Lieutenant's order to the Sergeant in command, to return to the Colonel. My detail, on the other hand, were in high glee, and after taking leave of our comrades and the Tennants, we were soon aboard of our boats and off for the Maryland shore, reaching there, according to promise, at 11 o'clock. The Lieutenant and Randolph were snugly tucked in on a bed of shucks, sleeping the sleep of the ‘babes in the woods.’ I disliked so much to disturb them, but the military necessity still confronted us. A touch on the shoulder and a call in a low voice were sufficient to call the Lieutenant to his feet. ‘Ha, ho, boys, are you here so soon?’ was his greeting. ‘Yes, we are here,’ was the reply. ‘Fall in; forward march,’ came next. Although sleepy and tired we marched to within two miles of Port Tobacco by morning, where we camped until the following night, when we again took up the line of march for Port Tobacco, arriving there between 8 and 9 o'clock. A good supper was served us at the Hotel Brawner by its proprietor, one of the gentlemen who called on us up the river. We had a jolly good time, telling war stories to our Maryland friends until the dead hour, when all good soldiers are supposed to have had taps and turned in for the night. The Lieutenant had gotten full particulars concerning the disposition of the garrison from a friend in the town.


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