The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.

The spokesman amongst the fugitives, affecting no ordinary amount of dignity, told their assailants plainly, that “no gentleman would interfere with persons riding along civilly”—­not allowing it to be supposed that they were slaves, of course.  These “gentlemen,” however, were not willing to accept this account of the travelers, as their very decided steps indicated.  Having the law on their side, they were for compelling the fugitives to surrender without further parley.

At this juncture, the fugitives verily believing that the time had arrived for the practical use of their pistols and dirks, pulled them out of their concealment—­the young women as well as the young men—­and declared they would not be “taken!” One of the white men raised his gun, pointing the muzzle directly towards one of the young women, with the threat that he would “shoot,” etc.  “Shoot! shoot!! shoot!!!” she exclaimed, with a double barrelled pistol in one hand and a long dirk knife in the other, utterly unterrified and fully ready for a death struggle.  The male leader of the fugitives by this time had “pulled back the hammers” of his “pistols,” and was about to fire!  Their adversaries seeing the weapons, and the unflinching determination on the part of the runaways to stand their ground, “spill blood, kill, or die,” rather than be “taken,” very prudently “sidled over to the other side of the road,” leaving at least four of the victors to travel on their way.

At this moment the four in the carriage lost sight of the two on horseback.  Soon after the separation they heard firing, but what the result was, they knew not.  They were fearful, however, that their companions had been captured.

The following paragraph, which was shortly afterwards taken from a Southern paper, leaves no room to doubt, as to the fate of the two.

Six fugitive slaves from Virginia were arrested at the Maryland line, near Hood’s Mill, on Christmas day, but, after a severe fight, four of them escaped and have not since been heard of.  They came from Loudoun and Fauquier counties.

    [Illustration:  ]

Though the four who were successful, saw no “severe fight,” it is not unreasonable to suppose, that there was a fight, nevertheless; but not till after the number of the fugitives had been reduced to two, instead of six.  As chivalrous as slave-holders and slave-catchers were, they knew the value of their precious lives and the fearful risk of attempting a capture, when the numbers were equal.

The party in the carriage, after the conflict, went on their way rejoicing.

The young men, one cold night, when they were compelled to take rest in the woods and snow, in vain strove to keep the feet of their female companions from freezing by lying on them; but the frost was merciless and bit them severely, as their feet very plainly showed.  The following disjointed report was cut from the Frederick (Md.) Examiner, soon after the occurrence took place: 

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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