Orders Issued: Reconnoiter Extensively ~ Urgent

Days of Quiet Buy Time For Rebel Movements

General Gideon Pillow leads Rebels into violation of Kentucky Neutrality. Occupy Columbus. Grant reacts and seizes Paducah. The beginning of the End is At Hand.
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URGENT ~ Rebels In Kentucky

***UPDATE ~ Confederate Forces are reported to be inside the Kentucky Border at Hickman.

Gen. Gideon Pillow with an Advance Party of Rebels have found their way across the Kentucky/Tennessee State Line and are now thought to be moving toward Columbus.

General  Grant ~ in anticipation of the loosely held secret sending Steamers to Secure Paducah.

****Orginal Report is Below****

Locate and Fixate position of Jeff Thompson and his marauding band; Reports of reinforcements at the muddy Belmont Plain outpost.

Of more concern to Grant, the continued intercepted traffic on the Telegraph into Tennessee. Suspicions that the office in Cairo has a Rebel sympathizer operator is common place knowledge.

Few people knew the codes; the system; connection points ~ who were not already actively serving in the Confederate Army – State Militias. So, the Yanks were stuck with whomever they could find to operate the Telegraph.

Confederate troops were nearby ~ and in numbers ~ sufficient enough to Caution and prompt Grant to summons his Generals for a War Council.

*** Sherman made sure the Reporters from the Chicago Tribune and New York Times were occupied thoroughly ~preoccupied and plastered enough with Drink to suspend curiosity ~ allowing the meeting to go undisturbed and stealth Like. Grant was wary of the scalawag reporters and their scurrilous intentions. But, he needed them on his side.

*Official Communique Stop ~ Must Hide ~ Caution

That was All Wil could dispatch  ~ he had real scouting to do today for His Homeland. The Yankees were up to something and he wanted to find out what it was. Now.

KpPhoto (c) 2015

KpPhoto (c) 2015

More important, General Gideon Pillow demanded to know. And, that was all Wil needed to ensure the information was obtained. No need to make the Crazy Man from Memphis ~ now dangerously in command of way too many soldiers and armaments ~ any further Paranoid than he already was.

It would be nigh impossible to strike due South along the river ~ Island 10 was being fortified and the Fort just up from Memphis ~ was coming along.

And, the impenetrable nature of the topography ~ thru the morass to make an attack en~masse; or even bring a long column to bear in on an enemy ~ would still have to navigate and then be bogged down by the impassibility of Niger Wool Swamp.

Wil kept telling Pillow that. And, either the haughty General didn’t just plain out believe him ~ worse yet, thought Wil ~ he suspected him of withholding vital strategic information.

Whatever the state of mind Gideon was in at the Time ~ Wil’s focus was on doing the job; getting back down South safely thru the Lines of marauding bands of Rebel Lunatics wishing for War in All Their False Bravado they could muster.

But. Wil knew he was on to something. Bedford Forrest had sent a troop of Cavalry to assist and further assured Wil will to gird safely from the Yanks and slip back Home. He missed his Mom. It had been almost 2 weeks since Wil Left Whiteville on Horseback to Bolivar to join with the rest of his brothers and cousins and Uncles at the Pillars Mansion.

KpPhoto (c) 2015

KpPhoto (c) 2015

***Forrest’s Rangers pushed back up to Bird’s Point to give the Yankee eyes a stir ~ and keep them at least preoccupied enough for Wil to to do his job.

Kentucky was still Neutral in the War. Much discussion; debate; dialogue and argument festered in the state House in Frankfort.  Confederate President Jefferson Davis ~ who was born in the state ~ had made it unequivocally Plain and Clear to stay out and Respect Kentucky sovereignty.

Map Courtesy of Wikipedia

Map Courtesy of Wikipedia

No Defenses; aggressive approaches or Maneuvers toward Kentucky were his orders to Gen.Leonidas Polk; who in turn futilely attempted  to explain that to Gideon Pillow ~ another Lost Cause ~ and the trappings for epic failure were in the Wind.

With the firing on Sumpter ~ Rebel commanders prepared and waited for the counter strike.

Grant did, too. It was time.

***Near Beckwith’s Farm ~ Aug. 15, 1861

Stealth and Silence was his friend. The shabby overcoat Wil wore , tattered and dirty, was meant to to show a simple rural express mail courier’s uniform.IMG_9768

But, he was more than that. Together, Wil and his Pals kept the command in Tennessee in constant reconnaissance for the Swamp and beyond.

KpPhoto (c) 2015

KpPhoto (c) 2015

This movement on the Columbus Bluffs was different. It had the Looks of a survey crew; pick shovels and aim-pyres. Lots of Horseback Soldiers. Not A basic element unit. He had to get closer.

Through the Corn Field past the silo, Wil crept closer to the muddy Rivers edge.

When he got there he drew his initial breath since dismounting a few miles back.

His hope that Sam could keep the Horses Quiet for Longer than 15-minutes made time the essence. He must get what he could and report back.

In 1861, Columbus was known as the Gibraltar of the West.

The Bluffs of Columbus today; viewed from Belmont Landing in Missouri. KpPhoto (c)

The telegraph office in Cairo wished to know, too.

Union Leaders had not caught on to the Fact that Rebel spies were manning the Telegraph wires in Cairo just yet  ~ especially ~ anything west of the River could hardly be held as reliable or accountable.

The real reason was Rebel spies littered the sprawling, well-fed and abundant Yankee camps. Vittles weren’t a North-South issue. It was survival.

And, any way one could get his hands on some Salted Pork;  a bag of beans or precious real Coffee ~ then so be it if you had to the Swim the Mighty Mississippi` to to do so. Many did; Some failed; some drowned. Only Sauger got caught..

However, the Yankee leaders had got wind of the constant unwanted visitor’s who claimed to have enemy info ~ of course ~ with the caveat of Food and Supplies. Shoes were a Must; there were stocks of Coats/Pants and Long-handled civvies; socks by the mounds.

Wil was not beleived when he told this to the fellas in Camp the first time he accomplished the feat; nor the second ~ or third; but Sauger got Lazy and Loose and paid the price. #Captured before the fighting begun.IMG_9721

The Gig was up on Sam and Wil’s Friend ~ Sauger ~ who couldn’t talk his way fast enough out of the picket on duty that night. A Large Iowa Lad that just read A Note from back Home and was Heartbroken and Angry.

And, Happened upon Sauger just as he was leaving the shore. Shot at him ~ he did ~ and Sauger stopped in his tracks; taken back to Headquarters.

Nobody heard nothin` in almost a Week now.

The shuttles back and forth across the River had slowed ~ as did now the Free Flow of information. Sumpter had been attacked. There was War.

Grant’s intuition told him that the latest report on Jeff Thompson sounded stale; this ~ what he felt ~ faulty information from his Confederate spies sparked him to make A move to find out for himself.

“Ralwins, Quick, ” Grant bolted; Awakened out of a Deep Thought by a Fire Ember ~ that unbeknownst to him ~ headed strait at his glazed, focused eyes ~ there was nothing to do but ~ Blink.

And, Grant never blinded.

General Grant ~ Dr. Curt Fields. Photo Tintype by Trooper Pritchett (c) 1861

General Grant ~ Dr. Curt Fields. Photo Tintype by Trooper Pritchett (c) 1861

So, the tiny glowing fire-bit landed square in the left eyeball ~ Grant chomped down hard on his Cigar. Pain? Fleeting, it is.

I need to know more about how many troops plan to join Polk if ~ Mr. Rawlins ~  if he (Pillow) does what we hear; feel and see ~ and I think he’s way past doing something foolish.

It’s best to bide our time. I got a couple plans brewin` in my head, he drew a hard drawl on a Cuban import Cigar ~ which came through General Sherman’s Senator Brother. Well, that was a perk, Grant thought. And rubbed his eyes to Sleep.


(To be Continued…)



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