Saturday, May 5, 2012
T. E. Story # 76
I am relaxing on a bed in the farmhouse as I finish my journal for the day, Hezzie and Dan have done a great job in finding a place to relax. Josh is taking a bath in the stream and I understand that Dan is watching. As soon as I finish here I will join him. Then into the new-old clothes and burn the others. The new map is finished and I will distribute them as soon as the copies are made. I am still pondering about Fredericksburg. I can see no reason to cross the river at this time. Actually while we are gathering loads of good information, this is still a big test to see if this type of mission can be sustained. Entrance into a lager city is simply not necessary at this point in my estimation. Not only that but my attempt to draw a map of the city would surely be detected, especially by a people who are suspicious of strangers. So, we will confine ourselves to the North side of the Rappahannock River, and try to find the two fords mentioned in an earlier report of the area. The plan that I outlined yesterday, I believe will be the best one for this mission as it will certainly prove he value of this kind of mission and gather some valuable information as well. Since we have rehung the signs on the wagon advertising what we do, we will only touch up those places where the message has been chipped or rubbed off. Our venture into the woods and under the bridge left several marks on the signs that need to be covered. However, we will not change the message on the signs. Josh can take care of that when he has finished in the stream. Hezzie has provided a good load of food that will hold us very well until we get back to Washington City. We will begin the second half of the mission tomorrow when all have gotten a good rest. Josh and Dan have both been of great assistance in this mission, and we must not forget to provide for them something special that also meets their needs and desires. I make the note that Hezzie and I must talk this over in detail when the mission is complete. The farm rests in a shallow valley surrounded on all sides by a narrow stand of trees along the main road, to the South To the North and West is the main forest of both broad-leafed and needle trees of some size, perhaps even an original stand of forest. Then to the East is a strip of the same forest that separates the farm from the house beside the ferry. The road which is just two bare stripes in a fallow field leaves the main road about a half mile from the hillock where we contacted Hezzie and Dan. The road leads North through the strip of forest, about a quarter-mile wide and then across a wide field to the farm house and barn plus three outbuildings. The barn is in fair shape but the outbuildings are badly sagging and probably dangerous to enter. The farmhouse is fairly sturdy and in god shape. Much better inside than the outside when first seen. The fields around the house bear remnants of a wheat crop, but if is obvious that it has been some time since the farm has been productive. Just East of the farmhouse are five trees which form a kind of an orchard. Three of the trees are apple, and two are peach trees. There is a large raised garden plot to the North of the house just off the back door overgrown with weeds, however there are some wild greens there as well as wild blackberries and raspberries. the fields around the farm run to approximately 30 acres. There is a portion of these field which have been fenced off (split rail fence), probably for a few cattle. Closer to the house but downwind is a pigsty and chicken coup. The farm could be quite productive if it were handled right. I will make a note that with the right people in charge and some money to repair the buildings, this farm could become a Union refuge for missions similar to what we are doing. Well, that is it for today's journal, and now for the stream, a good bath and maybe even a dry out in the sun before getting back to work.