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About The Wealth makers of the world. (Lincoln, Nebraska) 1894-1896 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 21, 1895)
THE WEALTH MAKERS
February 21, 1895
pjapyrtght, ISM, by Amrlaa Prw Aesoala-
A DKVOTED CONFEDERATE,
On the morning of the general ad
Yanoe of the Army of the Cumberland
drixrlinir rain set in which lasted at
interrala during the whole campaign.
Day after day the men tramped through i
the mire, often to lie down at night
with no means of lifting themselves out
of pools ezoept by cutting the wet
branches from the trees, and on these
making a bed in drenched olothec. The
artillery soon cnt np the roads so that
the guns sank to the hubs of the wheels.
The right continued to march toward
the left and in the direction of the base
of the Cumberland plateau, where Miss
Betsy Baggs and the others were pass
ing between the lines. Tie Unionists
were moving upon gaps i the f t
bills held by the Confederates, and l c
essary to the latter to prevent their e a
mies getting on their right, and tl as
compelling them to leave their fortifl a
tions at Tullahoma and fight on open
It was the day that the Union men
attacked these gaps that Miss Baggs
passed under Confederate protection,
and the fanner and the two young peo
ple with him were also pursuing their
route south. Fortunately for him, tho
farmer, being ou the flank ' the two
armies, was not forced to pass over
roads out up by either. After Major
Burke had administered thr oath not to
divulge anything they had seen con
cerning the Union forces to the farmer
and the young girl in the wagon with
bim (he considered the boy too young
to treat in the same way), the party
were suffered to deport and proceeded
down the road.
"Jake," said the farmer, slapping the
horses' backs with the reins, "what
hev you l'arned at skule?"
"L'arned how ter play 'hop scotch
and 'shinny. "
"I don't mean thet kind. I mean real
"Jakey was at a great disadvantage,
pa, "remarked the girl on the rear seat,
"because he was obliged to go in classes
with little bits of boys. You remember
he didn't know his letters when he
went to school. "
"No more did you, " said the father.
"Oh, yes, I did. I began to study
them a month before I went away, and
I taught Jakey, so that he knew some
thing about them, too, when he got
"Air theydoin much talkin 'bout the
war up no'th?" .
"Well, it isn't at all like it is down
hyar" (no southerner will ever ohange
the pronunciation of this word). "They
take lots of interest in it, and all that;
uuk, nana, v o vu "'s 6" "f -
morning and read the papers 'bout bat
tles and such things, and another to have
soldiers running all over you, 'speoially
taking the garden truck and the horses
onten the barn I mean out of the barn.
Teacher, she had the hardest work to
break me from saying 'outen for 'out
of. ' It seems she hasn't quite done it
yet" She spoke the last words with
"Lordy, Souri, y' talk like a fine lady
oompared 'ith what y' did afore y' went
no'th. Jake, would like ter drive
em?" : i . i . " ' "
The father handed the reins to his
on. who. considering that he had not
driven a horse for a year, handled them
with considerable skill.
"How did yon leave ma?" asked the
daughter. ' "
" Waal, y'r maw she war a heap lone
some 'thout y nnB, and she's been
worritin fo fear y'd git sick up thar
'ith no one ter tend ter y but senoe the
time fo' v'r oomin hum hez drawed
nigh she's puckered up pretty peart
The boom of a gun came faintly from
far down on the lower level, and the
cannonading heard by Corporal Ratigan
and his charge began. Taking np the
whip, the countryman gave his horses a
"I want ter make hum afore somep'n
happens. Thar's goin ter be a big fight
'bout Tullyhoomy. Thar's forts all
round the place and big guns on em. "
The horses trotted on briskly for
short distance, when, looking ahead, the
farmer oould see the picket post He
got his pass ready, and when they reach
ed the post an o IS car same out to ex
amine it ,
' "Is your name Ezekiel Slack?" he
asked of the farmer.
"Zeke Slack; yaas, thet's my name.
"And yours?" to the girl, raising his
forage cap admiringly.
"The other name on the pass refers to
the boy, I suppose. Yon nave a name,
sonny, haven't you?" he asked absently,
while he was studying the pass, though
it is questionable if the inquiry was not
Intended to show some faoetiousness be
fore the pretty girL
"Oh, Jakey," said his sister, "don't
fall back into that habit of asking ques
tions instead of answering them. You
know how hard they tried to break you
of it at school. And say 'hair,' not
"I got a name," said Jaka "D'y'
reckon a boy 14's goin ter git on 'ithout
a name?" .
"Well, what is it?" asked the officer,
"Slack," answered the farmer.
"These two nns Is my children. Thoy
been ter skule np in Ohio. They got lots
o' rarnin. Reokon they'll down the old
"Union or Confederate sympathies?"
"All right Go ahead."
Leaving the picket, they came to an
opening in the country which enabled
them to got a view of the region lying
to the west The farmer, though de
sirous of getting on, could not resist a
temptation to rein in bis horses and
watch the fighting, or the distant evi
dences of it that morning going on at
Hoover's Gap, Volleys of musketry
were mingled with the deeper tones of
cannon. Then the firing ceased for
awhile, when the booms began again,
continued and rapid. A white smoke
rose above a ridge on which Confederate
cannons were shelling the advancing
Union troops on the ground below.
Souri Slack thought of the lives that
were passing from under that smoke and
covered her faoe with her nanos.
When the sounds ceased, Farmer
Slack drove on and soon reached the
Confederate picket The party were sent
in charge of a trooper to the headquar
ters of an officer commanding a body of
cavalry on the Confederate extreme left
His headquarters were in a house beside
the road. It bad onoe been in the cen
ter of a neat country place. The fences,
the outhouses, the walks, had all been
in excellent condition prior to the first
passage of troops. Now of the fences
there was an occasional upright post
left; the walks were overgrown with
weeds and grass; the outhouses had
nearly all been torn down. The plaoe
was a picture of desolation. Neverthe
less the general who temporarily resided
there was making himself very comfort
able. The wagon drew np before the house,
and the conducting trooper sent in word
to the general that a party, who had
come in from the Union lines, were
waiting outside, desiring permission to
go on south. ' An order came to Bend the
party all inside.
The three travelers entered the house
to find a tall man with an iron gray
beard reoliAng in a rooking ohair with
as much apparent unconcern as if war
were simply a pastime.
"Yon have just come from the ene
my's lines, I hear," he said to the
."Yaas, sir." ;
"What force did yon see in the re
gion through whioh you passed?"
The farmer explained that he could
not answer the Question, inasmuch as
he had been permitted to pass after tak
ing an oath not to give any information.
"H'm, You are quite right not to
answer under the circumstances, " ob
served the general. "Did your daugh
ter take the same oath?"
"Yaas, general," said Souri.
"Surely they didn't administer an
oath to a boy of your age?" he said,
"Reokon th' thought I war too little
toswar,"said Jakey. He thrust his
hands in his pockets, a Bure sign that he
was steadying himself for a conflict of
wits and words. But the general was
not acquainted with the peculiar char
acteristics of Jakey Slaok ana preparea
to question him as unoonoernedly as he
would pump water from a well.
"What route did yon comer' he asx-
ed of the farmer. ' '
'I met the children at Galletin, " re
plied Slack. , "I driv' 'em from thar
through Lebanon and liberty.
"Souny.said the general, turning
to Jakey, "did yon pass any troops on
"Soldiers who walk and carry guns."
"Didn't see none o them kind."
"Did you see any artillery?"
"Don't know what them nns air."
"Men with great big guns-s-cannon."
"No, sir. Didn't see no 'tillery."
"Then what yon saw must have been
tavalry. " '
"Didn't see none o' them nns nutn
The general looked surprised.
"Then what did yon see? That's all
the arms of the service I ever heard of,
and I am an old soldier."
"Oh, I seel" exclaimed the general,
remembering the mountain Tennessee
ana' name for cavalry. "How many sol
diers belonging to the 'critter compa
nies.' as you call them, did yon see?'
"Waal. I counted 20. 'n thet's 's fur
as I got at countin in skule."
Souri was about to remind her broth
er that he had proved himself one of
the best boys in the school at mental
arithmetic, but desisted.
"H'm 1" The general thought a mo-
meat and beat a reveille with his fin
sera on the arm of his chair.
"What were they doing within the
Federal lines just before yon left the
. "WaaL I onlv noticed one man. 'nhe
war doin somep'n very partickeler. '
"What was it?"
"He war lookin at the sky through a
flat round thing what looked like a big
squashed apple. "
"Not a fieldglass, was it?" -"No,
sir. Reckon 'twam't thet"
"Was the man of high rank?"
"Reckon he war. He had stripes on
"Tut tut he wore chevrons. He was
only a noncommissioned officer. Can't
yon describe more nearly the object
through which he was looking?"
"Waal, I think I hearn some'nn call
it a can can"
"Not a canteen?"
"Yes, thet's it"
The general looked sharply at the
boy, who looked stolidly stupid. He
determined to try another route tnrougn
whioh to lead Jakey's infantile mind.
"Were the troops yon saw in camp,
or on the march, or in bivouac?"
"Don't know what thet ar' last air,
but the trees 'n brush war so thick I
oonldn' see plain."
"Can't yon tell me if yon saw any
infantry. Soldiers who walk and carry
guns, yon know?"
"I never looks at them kind o' so
lera," replied Jakey contemptuously.
"I only notices 'em when th're on
"That will do," said the general.
Then, turning to a staff officer near him,
"Captain, you may pass these people
south," and added in an' undertone:
"Ride over to division headquarters and
say that nothing has yet been obtained
of the enemy's movements in this vicin
ity by questioning citizens. Only one
party has come through a farmer,
with his son and daughter. The farmer
and bis daughter took an oath not to
give any information concerning the
dispositions of the enemy, and the boy
is profoundly stupid. "
There was a sound of hoofs without
mingled with the rattle of wheels.
Looking through an open window, an
officer was seen to dismount and hand
a woman from a mud covered, paint
rubbed buggy. All recognized Miss
Elizabeth Baggs. The general arose
from his chair and went one to meet
her at the front door. From there he
oonducted her into a room where they
oould confer together alona
"I struck their wires within their
lines midway between Murfreesboro and
MacMinnville at midnight and no one
was near. I threw my wire over the
line and made my connections with my
instrument I waited till nearly day
light before any messages of impor
tance came along, though dispatches
were passing all the whila At last one
came in oipher. I took it down, but as
we haven't the I key fear it will avail
"Let me see it," said the general.
Miss Baggs handed him a piece of
paper on which was written:
McRntEEBBORO, Tenn., Jane 28, 1868.
Yetnnteers Garfield with circling between
you possession turn an be cob Bumble at to
get that possible by move Benjamin pony chief
ramditv around that put of the hours ready
shingle to notice enemy 'a Tullahoma your point
the by of polliwog of plateau Niggard If desire
and hope forward to nana move we ngnt l
command and mountain order staff.
The general read the dispatch over
carefully, and then, looking up at Miss
"Can't it be interpreted, general?"
"I fear not without the key. It is
doubtless an important dispatoh, and I
shall send it at onoe to general head
quarters. If they can decipher it, they
are welcome to do so. I don't care to
Calling an aid-de-camp, the general
bade him carry the message to the army
telegraph station, a short distance to
the rear, and repeat it to General Bragg.
"General," said Miss Baggs in an
undertone, "if yon will let me have the
original or a copy, I will try to decipher
it I may find a clew that will aid me
hereafter, though I fear it will be too
late to take advantage of information
contained in this ona "
"Certainly. Lieutenant, return the
dispatch I have given yon to this lady
after it has been repeated. "
The officer departed. The general
turned again . to Miss Baggs with a se
rious look. 1 '"' ; ' '
"Do you know that you are engaged
in a very hazardous servicer" s
"And do yon understand the penalty
"Death, I supposa
"There's no telling whether it would
be death or a long imprisonment in the
case of a woman. A man would hang.
Miss Baggs' countenance changed
from an expression of indifference to
one of those flashes of the superhuman
attributes that lurk within the human
"Am I to make anything of my life
when thousands of the south's defend
ers are giving theirs everyday? Have
not seen our homes laid desolate?
Have I not seen my brothers, my friends,
those I have loved, those I have played
with as children, out down by either
bullet or disease? For months I have
devoted mvself to the care of the sick
in the hospitals. There I learned to
dread a long continuance of this strug
gle. There I conoeived the idea of do
lus something to win success lor our
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Illegitimate than trying to conquer a
people fighting for their independence?"
The general made no reply for a tima
' "Yours is a singular family," he
said presently. "Yon are all alike, and
yet you differ."
"We are united in the cause; we
differ as to the means. "
The interview was interrupted by the
I ringing of a dinner bell m the halL
The general called a negro and bade
him show Miss Baggs to a room up
stairs, to which she retired for a few
minutes. The servant brought in her
belongings from the buggy, together
with the little box. - When she came
down stairs, the party were waiting for
her before going in to dinner. Souri,
who had seen her covered ; by the sun-
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bonnet and her eyes screened with
glasses, was astonished. She saw a
woman three or four years older than
herself, the beauty of her head and
neck contrasting with the homeliness of
armies by giving them an advantage i her costume. Miss Baggs noticed Souri 's
not nossessed by the enemy. I consulted
one high in rank. 'How can I give
my life to the best advantage?' I asked.
In the secret service. 'Point the way. '
'Do you know anything of telegraphy?
'No, but I can learn. ' 'Go and study a
month and then come to me. For a
month I studied night and day. I learn-
ed to read words from the olioking of
the keys as readily as I can read letters.
I returned to my adviser. You know
The general paoed the floor with a
"I dread a catastrophe," he said,
"in the case of one inspired by such no
ble sentiments. I dread to see a woman
exposed to ignominy, perhaps death. " !
"If that time comes, general, God
will give me strength to bear it "
The general was silent a moment and
then asked abruptly:
"Is your brother aware of what you
"And he consents?"
"He does not We are individuals.
He is one of the noblest of the south's
legitimate defenders, but he is not re
sponsible for my acta, one of its illegit
"The pitoher that goes often to the
well is at last broken."
Then some one else will spring up
to carry on the work. "
God grant that the day may Do xar
distant that it mav never come. I can
hardly approve of it, though yon are
working in my cause. "
"General," said the woman, her lace
again lighting as if inspired by some
absorbing thought, "each side has an
organized secret service. What general
would dare report to his government
that he had acquired information which
would enable him to destroy bis ene
my, but it had been obtained by Illegit
imate means, and be would not take
advantage of it? Yet what general
would care to be called a spy himself?
We are engaged in a terrible struggle.
Before its close any and all means will
be used to conquer. Cities will bo burn
ed, vast districts will be laid waste.
Must I cease to employ the most effect
ive method of all because I am doing
illeeitimate work? Is my work more
1 A l- Al
surprise, and going up to ner cook duui
her hands and kissed her cheek.
"You sweet child," she said feeling
ly, "you can't get over my appearance
when yon met me on the road this
morning, oan you? What a fright must
I have Beemed to youl I don't oare for
those Yankee officers, but bless your
innocent heart I can't bear to have
Souri did not reply in words, but she
looked at Miss Baggs admiringly.
"Don't think hard of me, " the latter
went on. drawing Souri aside and mo
tioning the rest to go on into the dining
room. "I do only what I believe to be
duty, for you must suspect that I keep
a secret You could not play a part be
neath you. child. You are too loving,
too innocent, and yon wonder how any
other woman can.
"I did once."
"Before I went to schooL"
"For your country?"
Miss Baggs looked into Souri's deep
eyes and asked softly:
Souri dropped her eyes to the floor,
but her questioner, who by this time
had put an arm around her, received no
"Came, " she said, "let us not torture
each other. I see we both have our se
She led the way to the dinner room,
where the General and his staff were
af.nnriirio- waitinff for the tWO WOmen,
The party were joined by Farmer Slack
and Jakey, and all sat down at a signal
from the general.
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