Wednesday, April 18, 2012

T. E. Story #39

The Provost Officer got up and saying goodbye to me saluted the Col. and left the office taking his people with him.  I started to get up, and the Col. gestured me to sit down.

"All right now," he said leaning forward over the desk, "now we plan what you are going to do.  First of all do you have anything to add to your ideas?

"Yes, Sir, "I said, "We still don't know how much these people do know, but we know something that they don't know.  So, I suggest that we stick to the plan outlined to the Provost, but I suggest that we leave right away.  The Sgt. Major and his crew had prepared a wagon with signs of an itinerant sign painter on it.  Its purpose was to provide cover for the making of a map along the way.  I can have the Sgt. Major change to signs to something else, say a leather harness mender headed South for more supplies.  That will get us well into the South along the original return track.  Ten miles or so across the border we could remove the harness signs and continue on as a sign painter.  I have it figured at about five to six days at the rate of ten miles a day.  We won't be going fast and stopping often.  Then the Sgt. Major has warned that if anyone wants a sign painted then of course we will have to stop and accommodate or the people will get suspicious.  There is no telling how long that would take.  Meanwhile if the Provost follows through with my other suggestion he will certainly report to you, and he won't need to know that we are already on our way.  In that way I can leave with my team early in the morning, early enough to get well into the South before sunrise."

The Colonel pulled at his lip again, and said, "What you propose makes a lot of sense.  I will see to it that your proposal to the Provost is carried out.  Carry out your plan, and God Speed to you.  You realize that if you are caught our chances of recovering you are very slim."

"Yes, Sir, but there is an army recruiting office in Fredericksburg and Alexandria, so if we have any trouble there are at least two places where we can contact you from." I pointed to the two cities illustrated on the big map on the wall, "And this is the way I have planned to go."I traced the line around on the map so he could see what was planned.

Colonel Abert stood and came around his desk.  "It looks like you have gotten a step or two ahead of me, "He said, winking at me while taking my hand to shake it,"But then I don't have a Sgt. Major working for me!!  I have got to get one of those!  Take care young man and come back with all your crew." We shook hands and I took my leave of the Colonel.  I walked out into the street and hailed a cab to take me over to the Stables where was horse was being cared for.  When we arrived I walked into the stable and asked for my horse.  When he was brought over, He looked pretty good and I paid the man with a healthy tip.

"Do you have a back way out of here, " I asked.

"Shore enuff" said the stabler, Just go out through that door over there and there is a narrow lane between the stables. Turn right and go behind the bar and there you will find a side street that joins to the main road,

"Thank You, " I said, and mounting the horse I rode him through the back door that the stabler opened for me, and shortly I was on the Main Road out of town, headed toward the farm, my crew, and a new mission.

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