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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Little Shepherd Of Kingdom Come - Chapter 24. A Race Between Dixie And Dawn
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The Little Shepherd Of Kingdom Come - Chapter 24. A Race Between Dixie And Dawn Post by :Arun_Pal_Singh Category :Long Stories Author :John Fox Date :May 2012 Read :3267

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The Little Shepherd Of Kingdom Come - Chapter 24. A Race Between Dixie And Dawn

But the sun sank next day from a sky that was aflame with rebel victories. It rose on a day rosy with rebel hopes, and the prophetic coolness of autumn was in the early morning air when Margaret in her phaeton moved through the front pasture on her way to town--alone. She was in high spirits and her head was lifted proudly. Dan's boast had come true. Kirby Smith had risen swiftly from Tennessee, had struck the Federal Army on the edge of the Bluegrass the day before and sent it helter-skelter to the four winds. Only that morning she had seen a regiment of the hated Yankees move along the turnpike in flight for the Ohio. It was the Fourth Ohio Cavalry, and Harry and one whose name never passed her lips were among those dusty cavalrymen; but she was glad, and she ran down o the stile and, from the fence, waved the Stars and Bars at them as they passed--which was very foolish, but which brought her deep content. Now the rebels did hold Lexington. Morgan's Men were coming that day and she was going into town to see Dan and Colonel Hunt and General Morgan and be fearlessly happy and triumphant. At the Major's gate, whom should she see coming out but the dear old fellow himself, and, when he got off his horse and came to her, she leaned forward and kissed him, because he looked so thin and pale from confinement, and because she was so glad to see him. Morgan's Men were really coming, that very day, the Major said, and he told her much thrilling news. Jackson had obliterated Pope at the second battle of Manassas. Eleven thousand prisoners had been taken at Harper's Ferry and Lee had gone on into Maryland on the flank of Washington. Recruits were coming into the Confederacy by the thousands. Bragg had fifty-five thousand men and an impregnable stronghold in front of Buell, who had but few men more--not enough to count a minute, the Major said.

"Lee has routed 'em out of Virginia," cried the old fellow, "and Buell is doomed. I tell you, little girl, the fight is almost won."

Jerome Conners rode to the gate and called to the Major in a tone that arrested the girl's attention. She hated that man and she had noted a queer change in his bearing since the war began. She looked for a flash of anger from the Major, but none came, and she began to wonder what hold the overseer could have on his old master.

She drove on, puzzled, wondering, and disturbed; but her cheeks were flushed--the South was going to win, the Yankees were gone, and she must get to town in time to see the triumphant coming of Morgan's Men. They were coming in when she reached the Yankee head-quarters, which, she saw, had changed flags--thank God--coming proudly in, amid the waving of the Stars and Bars and frenzied shouts of welcome. Where were the Bluegrass Yankees now? The Stars and Stripes that had fluttered from their windows had been drawn in and they were keeping very quiet, indeed--Oh! it was joy! There was gallant Morgan himself swinging from Black Bess to kiss his mother, who stood waiting for him at her gate, and there was Colonel Hunt, gay, debonair, jesting, shaking hands right and left, and crowding the streets, Morgan's Men--the proudest blood in the land, every gallant trooper getting his welcome from the lips and arms of mother, sister, sweetheart, or cousin of farthest degree. But where was Dan? She had heard nothing of him since the night he had escaped capture, and while she looked right and left for him to dash toward her and swing from his horse, she heard her name called, and turning she saw Richard Hunt at the wheel of her phaeton. He waved his hand toward the happy reunions going on around them.

"The enforced brotherhood, Miss Margaret," he said, his eyes flashing, "I belong to that, you know."

For once the subtle Colonel made a mistake. Perhaps the girl in her trembling happiness and under the excitement of the moment might have welcomed him, as she was waiting to welcome Dan, but she drew back now.

"Oh! no, Colonel--not on that ground."

Her eyes danced, she flushed curiously, as she held out her hand, and the Colonel's brave heart quickened. Straightway he began to wonder--but a quick shadow in Margaret's face checked him.

"But where's Dan? Where is Dan?" she repeated, impatiently.

Richard Hunt looked puzzled. He had just joined his command and something must have gone wrong with Dan. So he lied swiftly.

"Dan is out on a scout. I don't think he has got back yet. I'll find out."

Margaret watched him ride to where Morgan stood with his mother in the midst of a joyous group of neighbors and friends, and, a moment later, the two officers came toward her on foot.

"Don't worry, Miss Margaret," said Morgan, with a smile. "The Yankees have got Dan and have taken him away as prisoner--but don't worry, we'll get him exchanged in a week. I'll give three brigadier-generals for him."

Tears came to the girl's eyes, but she smiled through them bravely.

"I must go back and tell mother," she said, brokenly. "I hoped--"

"Don't worry, little girl," said Morgan again. "I'll have him if I have to capture the whole State of Ohio."

Again Margaret smiled, but her heart was heavy, and Richard Hunt was unhappy. He hung around her phaeton all the while she was in town. He went home with her, cheering her on the way and telling her of the Confederate triumph that was at hand. He comforted Mrs. Dean over Dan's capture, and he rode back to town slowly, with his hands on his saddle-bow--wondering again. Perhaps Margaret had gotten over her feeling for that mountain boy--that Yankee--and there Richard Hunt checked his own thoughts, for that mountain boy, he had discovered, was a brave and chivalrous enemy, and to such, his own high chivalry gave salute always.

He was very thoughtful when he reached camp. He had an unusual desire to be alone, and that night, he looked long at the stars, thinking of the girl whom he had known since her babyhood--knowing that he would never think of her except as a woman again.

So the Confederates waited now in the Union hour of darkness for Bragg to strike his blow. He did strike it, but it was at the heart of the South. He stunned the Confederacy by giving way before Buell. He brought hope back with the bloody battle of Perryville. Again he faced Buell at Harrodsburg, and then he wrought broadcast despair by falling back without battle, dividing his forces and retreating into Tennessee. The dream of a battle-line along the Ohio with a hundred thousand more men behind it was gone and the last and best chance to win the war was lost forever. Morgan, furious with disappointment, left Lexington. Kentucky fell under Federal control once more; and Major Buford, dazed, dismayed, unnerved, hopeless, brought the news out to the Deans.

"They'll get me again, I suppose, and I can't leave home on account of Lucy."

"Please do, Major," said Mrs. Dean. "Send Miss Lucy over here and make your escape. We will take care of her." The Major shook his head sadly and rode away.

Next day Margaret sat on the stile and saw the Yankees coming back to Lexington. On one side of her the Stars and Bars were fixed to the fence from which they had floated since the day she had waved the flag at them as they fled. She saw the advance guard come over the hill and jog down the slope and then the regiment slowly following after. In the rear she could see two men, riding unarmed. Suddenly three cavalrymen spurred forward at a gallop and turned in at her gate. The soldier in advance was an officer, and he pulled out a handkerchief, waved it once, and, with a gesture to his companions, came on alone. She knew the horse even before she recognized the rider, and her cheeks flushed, her lips were set, and her nostrils began to dilate. The horseman reined in and took off his cap.

"I come under a flag of truce," he said, gravely, "to ask this garrison to haul down its colors--and--to save useless effusion of blood," he added, still more gravely.

"Your war on women has begun, then?"

"I am obeying orders--no more, no less."

"I congratulate you on your luck or your good judgment always to be on hand when disagreeable duties are to be done."

Chad flushed.

"Won't you take the flag down?"

"No, make your attack. You will have one of your usual victories--with overwhelming numbers--and it will be safe and bloodless. There are only two negroes defending this garrison. They will not fight, nor will we."

"Won't you take the flag down?"

"No!"

Chad lifted his cap and wheeled. The Colonel was watching at the gate.

"Well, sir" he asked, frowning.

"I shall need help, sir, to take that flag down," said Chad.

"What do you mean, sir?"

"A woman is defending it."

"What!" shouted the Colonel.

"That is my sister, Colonel," said Harry Dean. The Colonel smiled and then grew grave.

"You should warn her not to provoke the authorities. The Government is advising very strict measures now with rebel sympathizers." Then he smiled again.

"Fours! Left wheel! Halt! Present--sabres!"

A line of sabres flashed in the sun, and Margaret, not understanding, snatched the flag from the fence and waved it back in answer. The Colonel laughed aloud. The column moved on, and each captain, following, caught the humor of the situation and each company flashed its sabres as it went by, while Margaret stood motionless.

In the rear rode those two unarmed prisoners. She could see now that their uniforms were gray and she knew that they were prisoners, but she little dreamed that they were her brother Dan and Rebel Jerry Dillon, nor did Chad Buford or Harry Dean dream of the purpose for which, just at that time, they were being brought back to Lexington. Perhaps one man who saw them did know: for Jerome Conners, from the woods opposite, watched the prisoners ride by with a malicious smile that nothing but impending danger to an enemy could ever bring to his face; and with the same smile he watched Margaret go slowly back to the house, while her flag still fluttered from the stile.

The high tide of Confederate hopes was fast receding now. The army of the Potomac, after Antietam, which overthrew the first Confederate aggressive campaign at the East, was retreating into its Southern stronghold, as was the army of the West after Bragg's abandonment of Mumfordsville, and the rebel retirement had given the provost-marshals in Kentucky full sway. Two hundred Southern sympathizers, under arrest, had been sent into exile north of the Ohio, and large sums of money were levied for guerilla outrages here and there--a heavy sum falling on Major Buford for a vicious murder done in his neighborhood by Daws Dillon and his band on the night of the capture of Daniel Dean and Rebel Jerry. The Major paid the levy with the first mortgage he had ever given in his life, and straightway Jerome Conners, who had been dealing in mules and other Government supplies, took an attitude that was little short of insolence toward his old master, whose farm was passing into the overseer's clutches at last. Only two nights before, another band of guerillas had burned a farm-house, killed a Unionist, and fled to the hills before the incoming Yankees, and the Kentucky Commandant had sworn vengeance after the old Mosaic way on victims already within his power.

That night Chad and Harry were summoned before General Ward. They found him seated with his chin in his hand, looking out the window at the moonlit campus. Without moving, he held out a dirty piece of paper to Chad.

"Read that," he said.


"YOU HAVE KETCHED TWO OF MY MEN AND I HEAR AS HOW YOU MEAN TO HANG 'EM. IF YOU HANG THEM TWO MEN, I'M A-GOIN' TO HANG EVERY MAN OF YOURS I CAN GIT MY HANDS ON.

"DAWS DILLON--Captain."


Chad gave a low laugh and Harry smiled, but the General kept grave.

"You know, of course, that your brother belongs to Morgan's command?"

"I do, sir," said Harry, wonderingly.

"Do you know that his companion--the man Dillon--Jerry Dillon--does?"

"I do not, sir."

"They were captured by a squad that was fighting Daws Dillon. This Jerry Dillon has the same name and you found the two together at General Dean's."

"But they had both just left General Morgan's command," said Harry, indignantly.

"That may be true, but this Daws Dillon has sent a similar message to the Commandant, and he has just been in here again and committed two wanton outrages night before last. The Commandant is enraged and has issued orders for stern retaliation."

"It's a trick of Daws Dillon," said Chad, hotly, "an infamous trick. He hates his Cousin Jerry, he hates me, and he hates the Deans, because they were friends of mine." General Ward looked troubled.

"The Commandant says he has been positively informed that both the men joined Daws Dillon in the fight that night. He has issued orders that not only every guerilla captured shall be hung, but that, whenever a Union citizen has been killed by one of them, four of such marauders are to be taken to the spot and shot in retaliation. It is the only means left, he says."

There was a long silence. The faces of both the lads had turned white as each saw the drift of the General's meaning, and Harry strode forward to his desk.

"Do you mean to say, General Ward--"

The General wheeled in his chair and pointed silently to an order that lay on the desk, and as Harry started to read it, his voice broke. Daniel Dean and Rebel Jerry were to be shot next morning at sunrise.

. . . . .

The General spoke very kindly to Harry.

"I have known this all day, but I did not wish to tell you until I had done everything I could. I did not think it would be necessary to tell you at all, for I thought there would be no trouble. I telegraphed the Commandant, but"--he turned again to the window--"I have not been able to get them a trial by court-martial, or even a stay in the execution. You'd better go see your brother--he knows now--and you'd better send word to your mother and sister."

Harry shook his head. His face was so drawn and ghastly as he stood leaning heavily against the table that Chad moved unconsciously to his side.

"Where is the Commandant?" he asked.

"In Frankfort," said the General. Chad's eyes kindled.

"Will you let me go see him to-night?"

"Certainly, and I will give you a message to him. Perhaps you can yet save the boy, but there is no chance for the man Dillon." The General took up a pen. Harry seemed to sway as he turned to go, and Chad put one arm around him and went with him to the door.

"There have been some surprising desertions from the Confederate ranks," said the General, as he wrote. "That's the trouble." he looked at his watch as he handed the message over his shoulder to Chad. "You have ten hours before sunrise and it is nearly sixty miles there and back If you are not here with a stay of execution both will be shot. Do you think that you can make it? Of course you need not bring the message back yourself. You can get the Commandant to telegraph--" The slam of a door interrupted him--Chad was gone.

Harry was holding Dixie's bridle when he reached the street and Chad swung into the saddle.

"Don't tell them at home," he said. "I'll be back here on time, or I'll be dead."

The two grasped hands. Harry nodded dumbly and Dixie's feet beat the rhythm of her matchless gallop down the quiet street. The sensitive little mare seemed to catch at once the spirit of her rider. Her haunches quivered. She tossed her head and champed her bit, but not a pound did she pull as she settled into an easy lope that told how well she knew that the ride before her was long and hard. Out they went past the old cemetery, past the shaft to Clay rising from it, silvered with moonlight, out where the picket fires gleamed and converging on toward the Capital, unchallenged for the moon showed the blue of Chad's uniform and his face gave sign that no trivial business, that night, was his. Over quiet fields and into the aisles of sleeping woods beat that musical rhythm ceaselessly, awakening drowsy birds by the wayside, making bridges thunder, beating on and on up hill and down until picket fires shone on the hills that guard the Capital. Through them, with but one challenge, Chad went, down the big hill, past the Armory, and into the town--pulling panting Dixie up before a wondering sentinel who guarded the Commandant's sleeping quarters.

"The Commandant is asleep."

"Wake him up," said Chad, sharply. A staff-officer appeared at the door in answer to the sentinel's knock.

"What is your business?"

"A message from General Ward."

"The Commandant gave orders that he was not to be disturbed."

"He must be," said Chad. "It is a matter of life and death."

Above him a window was suddenly raised and the Commandant's own head was thrust out.

"Stop that noise," he thundered. Chad told his mission and the Commandant straightway was furious.

"How dare General Ward broach that matter again? My orders are given and they will not be changed." As he started to pull the window down, Chad cried:

"But, General--" and at the same time a voice called down the street:

"General!" Two men appeared under the gaslight--one was a sergeant and the other a frightened negro.

"Here is a message, General."

The sash went down, a light appeared behind it, and soon the Commandant, in trousers and slippers, was at the door. He read the note with a frown.

"Where did you get this?"

"A sojer come to my house out on the edge o' town, suh, and said he'd kill me to-morrow if I didn't hand dis note to you pussonally."

The Commandant turned to Chad. Somehow his manner seemed suddenly changed.

"Do you know that these men belonged to Morgan's command?"

"I know that Daniel Dean did and that the man Dillon was with him when captured."

Still frowning savagely, the Commandant turned inside to his desk and a moment later the staff-officer brought out a telegram and gave it to Chad.

"You can take this to the telegraph office yourself. It is a stay of execution."

"Thank you."

Chad drew a long breath of relief and gladness and patted Dixie on the neck as he rode slowly toward the low building where he had missed the train on his first trip to the Capital. The telegraph operator dashed to the door as Chad drew up in front of it. He looked pale and excited.

"Send this telegram at once," said Chad.

The operator looked at it.

"Not in that direction to-night," he said, with a strained laugh, "the wires are cut."

Chad almost reeled in his saddle--then the paper was whisked from the astonished operator's hand and horse and rider clattered up the hill.

. . . . .

At head-quarters the Commandant was handing the negro's note to a staff-officer. It read:

"YOU HANG THOSE TWO MEN AT SUNRISE TO-MORROW, AND I'LL HANG YOU AT SUNDOWN."


It was signed "John Morgan," and the signature was Morgan's own.

"I gave the order only last night. How could Morgan have heard of it so soon, and how could he have got this note to me? Could he have come back?"

"Impossible," said the staff-officer. "He wouldn't dare come back now."

The Commandant shook his head doubtfully, and just then there was a knock at the door and the operator, still pale and excited, spoke his message:

"General, the wires are cut."

The two officers stared at each other in silence.

. . . . .

Twenty-seven miles to go and less than three hours before sunrise. There was a race yet for the life of Daniel Dean. The gallant little mare could cover the stretch with nearly an hour to spare, and Chad, thrilled in every nerve, but with calm confidence, raced against the coming dawn.

"The wires are cut."

Who had cut them and where and when and why? No matter--Chad had the paper in his pocket that would save two lives and he would be on time even if Dixie broke her noble heart, but he could not get the words out of his brain--even Dixie's hoofs beat them out ceaselessly:

"The wires are cut--the wires are cut!"

The mystery would have been clear, had Chad known the message that lay on the Commandant's desk back at the Capital, for the boy knew Morgan, and that Morgan's lips never opened for an idle threat. He would have ridden just as hard, had he known, but a different purpose would have been his.

An hour more and there was still no light in the East. An hour more and one red streak had shot upward; then ahead of him gleamed a picket fire--a fire that seemed farther from town than any post he had seen on his way down to the Capital--but he galloped on. Within fifty yards a cry came:

"Halt! Who comes there?"

"Friend," he shouted, reining in. A bullet whizzed past his head as he pulled up outside the edge of the fire and Chad shouted indignantly:

"Don't shoot, you fool! I have a message for General Ward!"

"Oh! All right! Come on!" said the sentinel, but his hesitation and the tone of his voice made the boy alert with suspicion. The other pickets about the fire had risen and grasped their muskets. The wind flared the flames just then and in the leaping light Chad saw that their uniforms were gray.

The boy almost gasped. There was need for quick thought and quick action now.

"Lower that blunderbuss," he called out, jestingly, and kicking loose from one stirrup, he touched Dixie with the spur and pulled her up with an impatient "Whoa," as though he were trying to replace his foot.

"You come on!" said the sentinel, but he dropped his musket to the hollow of his arm, and, before he could throw it to his shoulder again, fire flashed under Dixie's feet and the astonished rebel saw horse and rider rise over the pike-fence. His bullet went overhead as Dixie landed on the other side, and the pickets at the fire joined in a fusillade at the dark shapes speeding across the bluegrass field. A moment later Chad's mocking yell rang from the edge of the woods beyond and the disgusted sentinel split the night with oaths.

"That beats the devil. We never touched him I swear, I believe that hoss had wings."

Morgan! The flash of that name across his brain cleared the mystery for Chad like magic. Nobody but Morgan and his daredevils could rise out of the ground like that in the very midst of enemies when they were supposed to be hundreds of mlles away in Tennessee. Morgan had cut those wires. Morgan had every road around Lexington guarded, no doubt, and was at that hour hemming in Chad's unsuspicious regiment, whose camp was on the other side of town, and unless he could give warning, Morgan would drop like a thunderbolt on it, asleep. He must circle the town now to get around the rebel posts, and that meant several miles more for Dixie.

He stopped and reached down to feel the little mare's flanks. Dixie drew a long breath and dropped her muzzle to tear up a rich mouthful of bluegrass.

"Oh, you beauty!" said the boy, "you wonder!" And on he went, through woodland and field, over gully, log, and fence, bullets ringing after him from nearly every road he crossed.

Morgan was near. In disguise, when Bragg retreated, he had got permission to leave Kentucky in his own way. That meant wheeling and making straight back to Lexington to surprise the Fourth Ohio Cavalry; representing himself on the way, one night, as his old enemy Wolford, and being guided a short cut through the edge of the Bluegrass by an ardent admirer of the Yankee Colonel--the said admirer giving Morgan the worst tirade possible, meanwhile, and nearly tumbling from his horse when Morgan told him who he was and sarcastically advised him to make sure next time to whom he paid his compliments.

So that while Chad, with the precious message under his jacket, and Dixie were lightly thundering along the road, Morgan's Men were gobbling up pickets around Lexington and making ready for an attack on the sleeping camp at dawn.

The dawn was nearly breaking now, and Harry Dean was pacing to and fro before the old CourtHouse where Dan and Rebel Jerry lay under guard--pacing to and fro and waiting for his mother and sister to come to say the last good-by to the boy--for Harry had given up hope and had sent for them. At that very hour Richard Hunt was leading his regiment around the Ashland woods where the enemy lay; another regiment was taking its place between the camp and the town, and gray figures were slipping noiselessly on the provost-guard that watched the rebel prisoners who were waiting for death at sunrise. As the dawn broke, the dash came, and Harry Dean was sick at heart as he sharply rallied the startled guard to prevent the rescue of his own brother and straightway delirious with joy when he saw the gray mass sweeping on him and knew that he would fail. A few shots rang out; the far rattle of musketry rose between the camp and town; the thunder of the "Bull Pups" saluted the coming light, and Dan and Rebel Jerry had suddenly--instead of death--life, liberty, arms, a horse each, and the sudden pursuit of happiness in a wild dash toward the Yankee camp, while in a dew-drenched meadow two miles away Chad Buford drew Dixie in to listen. The fight was on.

If the rebels won, Dan Dean would be safe; if the Yankees--then there would still be need of him and the paper over his heart. He was too late to warn, but not, maybe, to fight--so he galloped on.

But the end came as he galloped. The amazed Fourth Ohio threw down its arms at once, and Richard Hunt and his men, as they sat on their horses outside the camp picking up stragglers, saw a lone scout coming at a gallop across the still, gray fields. His horse was black and his uniform was blue, but he came straight on, apparently not seeing the rebels behind the ragged hedge along the road. When within thirty yards, Richard Hunt rode through a roadside gate to meet him and saluted.

"You are my prisoner," he said, courteously.

The Yankee never stopped, but wheeled, almost brushing the hedge as he turned.

"Prisoner--hell!" he said, clearly, and like a bird was skimming away while the men behind the hedge, paralyzed by his daring, fired not a shot. Only Dan Dean started through the gate in pursuit.

"I want him," he said, savagely.

"Who's that?" asked Morgan, who had ridden up.

"That's a Yankee," laughed Colonel Hunt.

"Why didn't you shoot him?" The Colonel laughed again.

"I don't know," he said, looking around at his men, who, too, were smiling.

"That's the fellow who gave us so much trouble in the Green River Country," said a soldier. "It's Chad Buford."

"Well, I'm glad we didn't shoot him," said Colonel Hunt, thinking of Margaret. That was not the way he liked to dispose of a rival.

"Dan will catch him," said an officer. "He wants him bad, and I don't wonder." Just then Chad lifted Dixie over a fence.

"Not much," said Morgan. "I'd rather you'd shot him than that horse."

Dan was gaining now, and Chad, in the middle of the field beyond the fence, turned his head and saw the lone rebel in pursuit. Deliberately he pulled weary Dixie in, faced about, and waited. He drew his pistol, raised it, saw that the rebel was Daniel Dean, and dropped it again to his side. Verily the fortune of that war was strange. Dan's horse refused the fence and the boy, in a rage, lifted his pistol and fired. Again Chad raised his own pistol and again he lowered it just as Dan fired again. This time Chad lurched in his saddle, but recovering himself, turned and galloped slowly away, while Dan--his pistol hanging at his side--stared after him, and the wondering rebels behind the hedge stared hard at Dan.

. . . . .

All was over. The Fourth Ohio Cavalry was in rebel hands, and a few minutes later Dan rode with General Morgan and Colonel Hunt toward the Yankee camp. There had been many blunders in the fight. Regiments had fired into each other in the confusion and the "Bull Pups" had kept on pounding the Yankee camp even while the rebels were taking possession of it. On the way they met Renfrew, the Silent, in his brilliant Zouave jacket.

"Colonel," he said, indignantly--and it was the first time many had ever heard him open his lips--"some officer over there deliberately fired twice at me, though I was holding my arms over my head."

"It was dark," said Colonel Hunt, soothingly. "He didn't know you."

"Ah, Colonel, he might not have known me--but he must have known this jacket."

On the outskirts of one group of prisoners was a tall, slender young lieutenant with a streak of blood across one cheek. Dan pulled in his horse and the two met each other's eyes silently. Dan threw himself from his horse.

"Are you hurt, Harry?"

"It's nothing--but you've got me, Dan."

"Why, Harry!" said Morgan. "Is that you? You are paroled, my boy," he added, kindly. "Go home and stay until you are exchanged."

So, Harry, as a prisoner, did what he had not done before--he went home immediately. And home with him went Dan and Colonel Hunt, while they could, for the Yankees would soon be after them from the north, east, south and west. Behind them trotted Rebel Jerry. On the edge of town they saw a negro lashing a pair of horses along the turnpike toward them. Two white faced women were seated in a carriage behind him, and in a moment Dan was in the arms of his mother and sister and both women were looking, through tears, their speechless gratitude to Richard Hunt.

The three Confederates did not stay long at the Deans'. Jerry Dillon was on the lookout, and even while the Deans were at dinner, Rufus ran in with the familiar cry that Yankees were coming. It was a regiment from an adjoining county, but Colonel Hunt finished his coffee, amid all the excitement, most leisurely.

"You'll pardon us for eating and running, won't you, Mrs. Dean?" It was the first time in her life that Mrs. Dean ever speeded a parting guest.

"Oh, do hurry, Colonel--please, please." Dan laughed.

"Good-by, Harry," he said. "We'll give you a week or two at home before we get that exchange."

"Don't make it any longer than necessary, please," said Harry, gravely.

"We're coming back again, Mrs. Dean," said he Colonel, and then in a lower tone to Margaret: "I'm coming often," he added, and Margaret blushed in a way that would not have given very great joy to one Chadwick Buford.

Very leisurely the three rode out to the pike gate, where they halted and surveyed the advancing column, which was still several hundred yards away, and then with a last wave of their caps, started in a slow gallop for town. The advance guard started suddenly in pursuit, and the Deans saw Dan turn in his saddle and heard his defiant yell. Margaret ran down and fixed her flag in its place on the fence--Harry watching her.

"Mother," he said, sadly, "you don't know what trouble you may be laying up for yourself."

Fate could hardly lay up more than what she already had, but the mother smiled.

"I can do nothing with Margaret," she said.

In town the Federal flags had been furled and the Stars and Bars thrown out to the wind. Morgan was preparing to march when Dan and Colonel Hunt galloped up to head-quarters.

"They're coming," said Hunt, quietly.

"Yes," said Morgan, "from every direction."

"Ah, John," called an old fellow, who, though a Unionist, believing in keeping peace with both sides, "when we don't expect you--then is the time you come. Going to stay long?"

"Not long," said Morgan, grimly. "In fact, I guess we'll be moving along now."

And he did--back to Dixie with his prisoners, tearing up railroads, burning bridges and trestles, and pursued by enough Yankees to have eaten him and his entire command if they ever could have caught him. As they passed into Dixie, "Lightning" captured a telegraph office and had a last little fling at his Yankee brethren.


"Head-quarters, Telegraph Dept. of Ky., Confederate States of America"--thus he headed his General Order No.--to the various Union authorities throughout the State.

"Hereafter," he clicked, grinning, "an operator will destroy telegraphic instruments and all material in charge when informed that Morgan has crossed the border. Such instances of carelessness as lately have been exhibited in the Bluegrass will be severely dealt with.


"By order of
LIGHTNING,
"Gen. Supt. C. S. Tel. Dept."


Just about that time Chad Buford, in a Yankee hospital, was coming back from the land of ether dreams. An hour later, the surgeon who had taken Dan's bullet from his shoulder, handed him a piece of paper, black with faded blood and scarcely legible.

"I found that in your jacket," he said. "Is it important?"

Chad smiled.

"No," he said. "Not now."

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The Little Shepherd Of Kingdom Come - Chapter 27. At The Hospital Of Morgan's Men The Little Shepherd Of Kingdom Come - Chapter 27. At The Hospital Of Morgan's Men

The Little Shepherd Of Kingdom Come - Chapter 27. At The Hospital Of Morgan's Men
In May, Grant simply said--Forward! The day he crossed the Rapidan, he said it to Sherman down in Georgia. After the battle of the Wilderness he said it again, and the last brutal resort of hammering down the northern buttress and sea-wall of the rebellion--old Virginia--and Atlanta, the keystone of the Confederate arch, was well under way. Throughout those bloody days Chad was with Grant and Harry Dean was with Sherman on his terrible trisecting march to the sea. For, after the fight between Rebels and Yankees and Daws Dillon's guerilla band, over in Kentucky, Dan, coming back from another raid
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The Little Shepherd Of Kingdom Come - Chapter 23. Chad Captures An Old Friend The Little Shepherd Of Kingdom Come - Chapter 23. Chad Captures An Old Friend

The Little Shepherd Of Kingdom Come - Chapter 23. Chad Captures An Old Friend
Meanwhile Morgan was coming on--led by the two videttes in gray--Daniel Dean and Rebel Jerry Dillon--coming on to meet Kirby Smith in Lexington after that general had led the Bluegrass into the Confederate fold. They were taking short cuts through the hills now, and Rebel Jerry was guide, for he had joined Morgan for that purpose. Jerry had long been notorious along the border. He never gave quarter on his expeditions for personal vengeance, and it was said that not even he knew how many men he had killed. Every Morgan's man had heard of him, and was anxious to see
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