Wednesday, April 18, 2012

T. E, Story #52

When Hezzie returned with the lads, I came down from my hiding place, and dan asked who it was that I expected.  I just grinned and shook hands.  Hezzie was busy with the boat, so I left him alone to make his plans with our friends.  My job is to map these roads and make suggestions about the elements of the maps that we DON'T have.  Hezzie's job is to keep this mission secret and get us all back to the Farm hopefully in one piece.  He will now play the part that I knew he could do and do well when I invited him along.  This was not the time to interfere!  So here we are in Northeastern Virginia, and we are about to embark on the river road to the Cook's Ferry at Sandy Point.  However, there are three roads which can get us there, and I should like to travel all of them if Hezzie thinks we can do this.  The first road goes South along the Eastern shore of the Potomac and just after crossing Matawoman Creek splits into two roads both of which join again at Posey's Store.  The third limb of our mission splits off at the village of Pomankey on Pomankey Creek.  This road goes directly South to the Port Tobacco Road turn right and follow the road to a turnoff which puts you directly on a road back to Cook's Ferry.  I have made rough copies of these maps, and they will be improved with the information on road condition, bridges, side roads, and the ninety-seven other items that are to be watched for and mentioned in the road record as we travel.  Hezzie has a list of some of the items that we are looking for, so he will know what to report along the side-roads that he will explore ahead.

The rough maps and the road records will be constructed into new maps when we return, and those will be given to Col. Abert for his personal portfolio and to the mapping office for reproduction.  The trick will be to get all the road / terrain information down as it currently is, but also to draw a few pictures of items along the way to show anyone who is interested.  We will have to stop periodically and show these pictures, take orders ad write letters  as our "customers" demand, and as Hezzie says is safe to do.  As Hezzie has said, our "hiding" must be in the open, because we are an Itinerant Company relying on sales of signs, pictures, and letter writing to earn our money.  Our equipment and horses will tell everyone that we are pretty successful, so people will want to see our wares that have made us so.

The roadbed of the Oxen Run Bridge is wooden planked over logs.  The log stringers are bolted to the trestles.  There is a lot of rust in the areas f the bolts and I notice in the roadway lines of openings where pebbles and sand is falling through which would indicate that the road planks (chesses) are beginning to rot.  Digging into one of the planks with my pocketknife I see no evidence of oil, coal-tar or paint.  My thought is that this bridge would have to be strengthened for artillery and Freight wagons.  The trestles seem sound enough, but the log connections are deteriorating.

Josh tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the wagon in the brush.  I could see that the coverings had been removed and hidden, the horses were harnessed and ready to go.  Young Dan was anxious to move the boat down river and meet us at Matawoman Creek.  Hugh was ready to leave , and Hezzie was due back anytime now.  We were supposed to meet him on the road further South so it was time to go.  I shook hands all around, told Hugh to give my best to Sarah and thank her for the food she packed for Hezzie and I.  I climbed aboard the wagon and Josh moved the wagon onto the road and then onto the bridge, a last goodbye and we were off on the second leg of our adventure!  

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