That night Ned Ferry—of the cavalry withdrawn to the eastward uplands to protect that great source of supplies and its New Orleans and Jackson Railroad—was made a lieutenant, and a certain brave Charlotte, whom later he loved and won, bringing New Orleans letters to camp, brought also such news of the foe that before dawn, led by her, Ferry’s Scouts rode their first ride. All day they rode, while the main armies lay with North Fork between them, the grays entrenching, the blues rebridging. When at sundown she and Ned Ferry parted, and at night he bivouacked his men for a brief rest in a black solitude from which the camp-fires of both hosts were in full sight and the enemy’s bridge-building easily heard, he sought, uncompanioned, Kincaid’s Battery and found Hilary Kincaid. War is what Sherman called it, who two or three days later, at Grand Gulf (evacuated), crossed into this very strife. Yet peace (so-called) and riches rarely bind men in such loving pairs as do cruel toil, deadly perils, common griefs, exile from woman and daily experience of one another’s sweetness, valor, and strength, and it was for such things that this pair, loving so many besides, particularly loved each other.
With glad eyes Kincaid rose from a log.
“Major,” began the handsome scout, dapper from kepi to spurs in contrast to the worn visage and dress of his senior, but Hilary was already speaking.
“My gentle Ned!” he cried. “Lieutenant—Ferry!”
Amid kind greetings from Captain Bartleson and others the eyes of the two—Hilary’s so mettlesome, Ferry’s so placid—exchanged meanings, and the pair went and sat alone on the trail of a gun; on Roaring Betsy’s knee, as it were. There Hilary heard of the strange fair guide and of news told by her which brought him to his feet with a cry of joy that drew the glad eyes of half the battery.
“The little mother saint of your flag, boys!” he explained to a knot of them later, “the little godmother of your guns!” The Callenders were out of New Orleans, banished as “registered enemies.”
IN DARKEST DIXIE AND OUT
Unhappy Callender House! Whether “oppressors” or “oppressed” had earliest or oftenest in that first year of the captivity lifted against it the accusing finger it would be hard to tell.
When the Ship Island transports bore their blue thousands up the river, and the streets roared a new drum-thunder, before the dark columns had settled down in the cotton-yards, public squares, Carrollton suburb and Jackson Barracks, Callender House—you may guess by whose indirection—had come to the notice of a once criminal lawyer, now the plumed and emblazoned general-in-chief, to whom, said his victims (possibly biased), no offense or offender was too small for his hectoring or chastisement.