Wednesday, April 18, 2012

T. E. Story #15

I walked toward the main street and hailed a cab.  Shortly I was back at the Hotel.  I went immediately to my room and read through the folder that the Colonel had given me.  I spent the next two hours reading every sheet twice over and making notes about what the Colonel had said.  The great relief that I had not been called to Washington because I was in trouble, was slowly replaced with the size of the task that I had been handed.  Could I do the job and do it well?  Who could I get to join me in this endeavor.  It seemed that my relief for the River clearance project had already been notified and he was to report within the week after I returned to the river.  It would probably take about a week to turn the contract over to him. (my name was to remain on the Congressional Contract), but he would undertake the task until war was declared.  If that didn't happen I would be sent back to the river.

When I had the information in the packet well in mind, I left the hotel and headed for the nearest telegraph office.  I sent the following telegrams:

To my junior officer:

"Completed Washington Business  (stop) Will take the next train West (stop) No problems with the Commandant (stop)"  Arrival Time Friday next if no problem occurs(stop);

To Hezzikiah:

"Completed Washington Business (stop) New Task and Opportunity for us (stop)  Meet new Topog Engr. in St. Louis train station on Saturday next if I am not back (stop).  Captain Scott Lewis is his name (stop)  Consider coming back to Washington City with me (stop)."

Then I hurried down to the train station and bought a train ticket back to St. Louis.  With the train ticket in hand, I went to the hotel and packed my kit.  I called a cab and it deposited me at the train station where I caught the first afternoon train to Chicago.

As the train rumbled through the afternoon, I was working over in my head who and what I would need.  A crew of six at least, horses, some instrumentation, and travel documents for all, as well as special travel permits, enough money to keep the men on the road, civilian clothes, an office and drawing room in Washington City, a stable / barn to maintain the horses and store the feed for the mounts, saddles and tack as well as saddlebags and weapons (both pistols and rifles), camping gear,   Money was no problem since the government voucher in the folder was very generous.  Maps would be a different problem.  As the Colonel had said the latest maps in the areas South of the Mason-Dixon Line were last updated during the Rev War.  There would be many and significant changes,  Training the men that would undertake these concerns would be another task to insure that the import points of the Terrain, urban and city populations, farmlands , road service together wit a hundred other items of interest were picked up.  As the night closed around the train it found me still writing notes and ideas.

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