Wednesday, April 18, 2012

T. E. Story #33

Within the hour, I had the reply from Col. Abert.  He agreed with my actions and approved the security I had imposed on the three drawings.  He said that he would look into the engineer's office at Port Royal and give me a list of names.  Now what to do!  Obviously, somehow this information must have gotten out but the only people who knew about the plan was Col. Abert and myself.  Now that I think about it the general Idea of the plan was discussed briefly during the turnover meeting between myself and the Congressmen. Add to that group, Col. Abert,  the Captain who took over the River work temporarily, and Lt Lewis who is now the river work commander.  If the problem lies with Col. Abert, I might as well save everyone a lot of trouble and shoot myself right now.  I trust Lt. Lewis, which leaves the Captain who was removed and three Congressmen.  My view is that between those four, I have no trust for any of them.  That information released in general at that meeting would not be hard with an accomplished engineer to be  figured out and plan ahead for.  It would also be worth money to anyone opposed to the effort.  Perhaps a change in the itinerary would be a good thing to discuss with Col. Abert.  The other idea that I have is to get together with Capt Johnson who is the Topographical engineer who has been mapping Washington City and environs, and get his help for a few days.  Another idea for Col. Abert to consider.  I thanked the guard for his help and discussed the problem with his Officer of the Day.  They said they would be on the alert if Mr. Agnane returned, as he might when he does not receive the drawings that he had asked for.

I then called a cab, and hastened over to the Topographical offices.  Going inside, I talked with the military desk and asked for an appointment to speak with Col. Abert.  The Lt. then sent a messenger to see what Col. Abert;s Calender looked like. He was not in his office, having an appointment with the President.  He would be out of the office all day.  I left a note to be delivered to him as soon as he returned.  The note read:

Apparently the five people who attended the river contract turnover have used that information to work out the plan that we have for the mapping expedition.  I trust Lt. Lewis explicitly but I have no such knowledge of the other four men.  I have a couple of ideas that I should like to discuss with you.

Very Respectfully

Ian McKay, Major

I then decided on my next moves.  Outside the Military Building, I again hailed a cab, and ordered the cabby to take me to the Long Bridge and wait for me while I "inspect" some of the base timbers and take some measurements, wait for me there and then take me to Willard's Hotel.  I thought that if I exposed myself around town perhaps I could attract the man in black to again get on my tail.  This time I would be more alert to finding who and what this man is.  I loosened the small pistol in its shoulder holster, and checked to see the priming was secure and the hammer was resting on an empty chamber.  Then I returned the gun to it's hiding place.  I also carried a rather large folding knife in my pants pocket which could be opened in a hurry and had a blade about four inches long and was very sharp.  I felt myself ready for almost anything.  Hezzie would be going nuts at this point objecting that I was exposing myself too much but I thought that this was the only way to find this man in black.

I finished at the bridge after explaining to the sentries there who I was and what I was doing.  Then we took a slow ride back toward Willards Hotel, stopping twice, once to purchase a small bag of apples I saw in a store front and secondly to see how my horse was getting along, and give him a small treat with the fruit.  That should be exposure enough if anyone is watching for me.  I got out of the cab and paid the cabbie , making the deal for him to return in three hours to pick me up again.  Then I went into the hotel, passed through the lobby, saying hello to all that I knew there, and told the desk that I would be in the dining room and later the reading room if I was wanted for anything.  He made a note of it and I went on into the dining room for an early dinner.  I ordered a bottle of wine, and had it sitting on the table. I made much of it, but actually drank very little.  The supper was quite good and I made a leisurely time of it.  An hour later I rose from the table and sought out the reading room to bury myself in the newspapers found there.  All through this effort I was keeping my eyes open for anyone that I saw twice or anyone who was obviously keeping close to me. An hour later one of the military orderlies delivered a telegram for me from Col. Abert saying that he would be glad to see me the first thing in the morning.

I thanked the orderly and initialed the telegram making a note that I would be there.  Then I walked over to the desk and made arrangements for a room for the night so I would be fairly close to the office in the morning.  As I was signing for the room, I saw out of the corner of my eye a familiar face that I had seen before on the street.  The face was familiar as it was drawn and thin with a heavy tan, and the man was dressed in a dark suit, black boots and a wide brimmed hat pulled down low.  That was the "man in black."  In the light of the hotel lobby his clothes were a medium blue, but the face , hat and boots were the same.  I finished with the registration and thinking rapidly decided to try the bathroom trick.  I walked across the lobby and went through the rest room door, and around a corner drawing my pistol and waited to see what would happen.  Within five minutes the man walked through the door to the rest area, and I took him from behind putting the barrel of the pistol on the back of his head, I said, "Don't turn around, and don't speak or I will blow your head to pieces."  The man froze in place.  "Now," I continued," Turn around and march right back through the door into the lobby ."  The man did as he was told with me hold the scruff of his coat in my left fist and the gun against his head in my right.  As we got into the lobby, I called out to the desk, "Call the police, Now."  The man jerked in my hand and I shoved the gun harder into the back of his skull.  "If you want to die right here, make one more stupid move like that." I growled and the man stiffened.  Two police officers entered the lobby on the run.  

The first a large beefy man demanded, "What is going on here!"

"This man has been following me for several days and has been involved in some military security concerns.  I want to know who he is and why he is following me all over Washington City."

The other policeman came up, "Would you mind putting that pistol away sir," he said cautiously.

"I certainly will, just as soon as you manacle him up so he won't run," I replied.

The police hastily put manacles on the man's wrists and ankles. and I uncocked the pistol and put it back in the holster. " Now who are you,"  I said turning the man around to face me for the first time," And why are you following me?"

The man stuttered out, " My name is Geth----."  A shot rang out and a hole appeared in The man's forehead.  He groaned briefly and slumped in my grip as his life ran out of him and blood spurted from his wound.  The two police, immediately focused on a small open window in the front of the lobby, and ran for it.  I dropped the dead man and drawing my gun again, I ran after them.

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