Wednesday, April 18, 2012

T. E. Story #18

The train rolled into the St. Louis Station and I heaved a sigh of relief.  He wasn't late but that was only because the engineer had run that train nearly off the rails after the four hour delay at an empty water tank about 200 miles shy of his destination.  They finally got the pump working and did some temporary repairs on the water tank which assisted.  I told the engineer about the timing and he let out all the stops and the old train really whistled along after that!

I was looking for Hezzy and the Captain as I got off the train, and sure enough there they both were.

"Hezzy, Capt Lewis ," I said,"it is good to see you.  Since time is of the essence perhaps we should adjourn to the stage station to see when the next stage downriver is."

Capt. Lewis said, "I still have to pick up my gear at the hotel, so I will meet you there."  Then the Capt. turned away without any further discussion and hailed a cab.  Five minutes later Hezzie and I were alone on the end of the platform.

I got your mail in Chicago Hezzie, I said, "and I think that I can improve your status in the army just a tad.  I have a handful of blank commissions and Warrants in my case and you are destined for at least one of them.  In regard to your Deputy Marshall's Badge, it is now permanent, courtesy of your new boss.  He promised to help out with that concern and here is the telegram that I got in Chicago:"

>>Dep. Marshall Commission permanent (stop)  Let me have your choices for a detachment as soon as possible (stop)  Good Luck (stop)<<

"I will want you to take the position as a Sgt. Major in this detachment.  This will be your apparent rank to all who see you in uniform.  When you are in civilian clothes and on a survey or task outside the Federal States (below the Mason-Dixon Line) you will have the rank of Major and the documents that will gain you all the needed travel, and living expenses that you will need.  I have a man in mind for my Adjutant who is an accomplished Topog Engineer, and I think that you will like him.  Your ranks take effect immediately since the Warrant and Commission are already signed by  Colonel Abert and for the duration of the war they will be brevet ranks.  I am informed by the good Colonel that those ranks for both of us will become permanent upon the declaration of war.  All this is to be kept to yourself till we get back to Washington City, where we will celebrate your advancement to Sgt. Major, and mine to Major, so everyone who might have the slightest interest will know who and what you are.  Then we begin our work in ernest."

I turned and hailed a passing cab.  "Hey there Cabby, take us to the Stage Station, and hurry."  As an aside to Hezzie, I said in a low voice with a big grin, "we can't let Capt. Lewis get ahead of us, can we?"

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