The Other Side of Lincoln


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Chapter 1



A Historical Fiction 




Lech Lenahan came from a warring family...though the last of the Clan had long since left Ireland; he inherited the family loss of land, its income and a way of life... taken by Cromwell, England’s bloodiest,  most cruel soldier, given to others because they were Protestant.

His grand-father and father had taught him the value of freedom from the time he was old enough to know...his choice to fight for it in the great Civil War was a natural reaction, waiting to happen.

It mattered not that Leck Lenahan had never seen the Emerald Isle, neither had he seen the flu but he knew well the pain of it.

The Other Side of Lincoln, is the heartwarming story of the love and determination of Leck strike a blow for freedom...though he had no slaves, he knew well the pain of being forced from family, from land handed down from generation, and made to migrate to a country belonging to Native Americans. 


The Other Side of Lincoln takes you on the soldier’s journey as a member of a crack unit, guarding a presidential candidate to becoming a spy collecting valuable information for the Union Army, including the capture of John Brown at Harper’s Ferry. Follow Lenahan after the war as he is mistakenly sought by the military as a member of Quantrill’s Raiders only to become a lawman and help settle the west, build a railhead town, marry a beautiful widow, and live to an old age to tell stories into the 20th century.


The Other Side of Lincoln






Leck Lenahan was born to kill...he came from a longline of warriors known as the Celts. When Oliver Cromwell brought his army to Ireland on behalf of

Protestants...taking the Lenahan family farm near Belfast and exiling the family to Connaught, the most hostile and barren land in Ireland...a place where the sea winds never stop blowing and only rocks will grow...little did Cromwell know how hatred could grow, and how long it resides in the Irish spirit.

There is an old saying about the Irish temper... ‘An Irishman has never seen a fight he did not belong to...and if there is no fight, he may start one.’

The fight to free the slaves was tailor-made for Lenahan...for as he saw it, no man was free as long as another was chained.



COPYRIGHT (TXu1-309-320)      2006 by Welby Thomas Cox, Jr.

ISBN: 978-0-9984852-1-8

All Rights Reserved

Including the right of Reproduction in Whole or in Part or in any Form From the Author in Writing

First Printing, February 2007

Cover Design and Portraits by River Cottage Studio (Welby Thomas Cox, Jr.)

Manufactured in the United States of America 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9

Library of Congress Cataloging-In-Publication Data Welby Thomas Cox, Jr. date May 17, 2006






Leck Lenahan and his neighbor, Gabe Russell joined the Federals to ride horses, shoot weapons and fight the injuns. Along the way they discovered a fierce proud people they respected. This conflict only grew as the Great Civil War started and they were forced to face off against the Confederates. The men of the south,  the place where their families had come from Ireland.  Where their kin now made a living, by farming the land, without the help of the Africans.

Instinctively, Leck Lenahan knew that he had ‘a dog in the fight’ because he knew that no man should ever be the slave to another, his family had suffered that consequence at the hands of the British and the cruel Oliver Cromwell.

Born in 1840,  died in 1942, a legend made because he must, and he lived to tell the story to countless children and grandchildren who have gathered the letters, the clippings and have shared this story with his great, great, grandson          Thomas Welby Cox to be shared with the reading public.


ISBN 978-0-9984852-1-8

Dedicated to the life and memory of my beloved son, Thomas Welby Cox II, who followed his heritage as soldier and police officer who gave his life in the line of duty. (1970-2007)



There are few authors who are wholly original as far as their plots are concerned; indeed Shakespeare seems to have invented almost nothing, while Chaucer borrowed from both the living and the dead. And to come down to a somewhat different plane, the present writer is even more derivative, since for these books he has in generally kept doggedly to recorded actions, nourishing his fancy with log-books, dispatches, letters, memoirs and contemporary reports. But general appropriation, is, not quite the same thing as outright plagiary, and in passing it must be confessed that several passages and descriptions have been taken straight from the text of authors listed herein, whose words did not seem capable of improvement.


Some are born to follow, some are born to suffer, some are born to die, and some are born to kill... Welby Thomas Cox’s research is impeccable as he weaves it into a heartwarming and sometimes painful, but always loving story of a man forced to fight for the rights of his family, his friends and the men, women and children of color during the Great Civil War. There were no right choices for Leck Lenahan; they had been made for him by the British who had also gained the exclusive rights to the slave-trade, in conjunction with the Arabs. Men, women and children first captured by fellow Africans, then sold to Arab seamen for resale to the British who sold them to anyone in need of back-breaking work for near free.

Leck knew that the south was on the wrong side of this war...and even though he would face friends, neighbors and family he chose to fight for the federals, later the Union Army to free the slaves.


All the characters in this novel are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, whether living or dead, is entirely coincidental...except for those individuals listed as a part of the index who are believed to have lived at some time in their lives.








FOREWARD                                                               9

INTRODUCTION                                                   23


I         SOUTH CAROLINA SECEDES                  27 

II       THE CARNAGE COMES EARLY                39

III      A LIFETIME OF LOVING                            54

IV      RAGS TO RICHES                                         72

V       HILLBILLY HEAVEN...OR HELL               86

VI      HARPERS FERRY                                        109

VIII SWITCHING TRAINS                                   136 

VIII QUANTRILL’S REVENGE                            174

IX    THE LAWLESS & THE GUTLESS              201



XII   A LESSON IS LEARNED                               279

XIII  KNOW YE                                                         304








I was born of a rising legend, I was born of a killing machine, nurtured by the military in 1860, I was born at a time of conflicting life-styles and significantly changing economic conditions. I was born out of the infamy of a man fighting for a freedom he could not define, nor emotion he could feel.

I was born to write this novel, as certain as there were men born to be enslaved, to fight for the rights of slaves. I was born the great-great grandson of one of the least known of western folk-hero’s', but one of the most important contributors, non-the–less, to the history of this great country.

To understand my connection to the great Civil War, a war that took place 153 years ago, and witnessed the death and maiming of a million of its lads… you must be willing to open your mind and accept facts of the war as opposed to the ‘politically correct’, slight-of-hand, which has displaced reality in many of the textbooks altered by despots and hypocrites in the last 30 years. Spoon-fed lies and half-truths reproduced as gospel for the minds of the most precious...our children, and their inherited legacy to this great country.

The trading of one deficient mythology for another, does not eliminate the truth salvaged by the record and the cultural legend passed from generation to generation of participants through letters and verbal historical documentation of lives on the firing line. That slavery was the greatest evil ever embraced by this country or any other continues to eat at our very soul to this day, and to the very fiber of those chained, those who became prisoners of the heart.

The first fact that I ask you to accept is that slavery in America did not begin in the south. Long before George Washington, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, John Rutledge or Ben Franklin were born, slavery was well established in the world at large and in the original thirteen colonies.

The best documented, but still overlooked fact, is that the first ‘cargo’ of twenty Africans to land in the future United States of America arrived at Jamestown,

Virginia, known to generations of American schoolchildren, as the first permanent English settlement in America.

The Africans came aboard a Dutch Man-Of-War in August 1619. Of course the Dutch, as few other Europeans, ever actually went into Africa and captured slaves. The work of capturing and enslaving the Africans was generally done by other Africans, who captured and sold their prisoners to Arab coastal traders. 

Most of the slaves were prisoners of war. Some were tribal royalty, prizes of war, taken by neighboring or enemy tribesmen and sold to Arab traders for rum, codfish, salt, and Spanish money. In some cases they were criminals or debtors. Eventually they were simply the subjects of African Kings and local chieftains who were unable to resist the temptation of the European riches and goods placed before them. Linked together and shackled in chains that bound the captives together by the neck, a word derived from the Arabic for caravan-the Africans were turned over to the Arab merchants who ran the slave markets of Africa’s West Coast.

Isn’t it significant, in your mind, that “the merchants of slavery” for several hundred years prior to the Civil War, and even before the settlement of the colonies, were Arabs? Is it any surprise to you, given the history of the Arab people and America’s recent history with the World Trade Center bombing on September 11, 2001 that the religion of the Arabs, Islam would now be embraced by the majority of blacks around the world, still selling its own brand of hatred in the name of Allah.

History recorded, in this same year and in this same place, the opening of the House of Burgesses and laid forth the legislative framework... celebrating as well, the foundation for the most egregious act of one human upon another... slavery in America and the war, ultimately to punish slavers for utilizing it.


The Africans brought to America by the Dutch in 1619 were to be sold as indentured servants...not slaves, a fine distinction by creative minds and men of moral character, the first to church, don’t you know.

By 1652, Newport, Rhode Island was a major slave trade location and the Netherlands, permits Africans to be brought into its colony, New Netherlands, which later became New York.

In 1672, The English Royal Africa Company is granted a monopoly in the slave trade by England in the colonies, which lasted until 1696. Because slave trading was known to be profitable, and a relatively simple business to operate, the merchants in the New England Colonies began extensive slave trading, acting as competition for the English, which did not advance the political climate.

In 1700, New York passed a law making it a death penalty for any slave to run-away. Massachusetts declared marriages between blacks and whites to be illegal, today they permit marriages between the same sexes, something my grandfather would not have understood, nor do I.

In 1733 a significant event took place in the history of slavery in America. Georgia was admitted as the last of the thirteen original colonies. Under the terms of the charter, the importation of slaves into Georgia is forbidden. Why had it taken 114 years for the colonies to forbid the importation of slaves, and why did they choose to do so to a southern state, the short answer is, because they could!

In 1775 another historically significant event takes place in Virginia. Blacks, by the edict of George Washington and the Continental Congress, were not permitted to serve in the Continental army. However, the deposed royal governor of Virginia promises freedom to any slave who joins the British Army. This action caused Washington to reverse his order, and eventually an estimated five thousand Blacks participated in the major conflicts of the Revolution.

In 1776, Thomas Jefferson, a slaver, wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence and in it he included a charge that King George III was responsible for the slave trade in the colonies and has prevented the colonist from outlawing the practice... “He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of distant people who have never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the 11 opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain. Determined to open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce, determining to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold.” After much debate, Jefferson’s brief statement, in the Declaration of Independence, critical of the King, was deleted by Congress.

Jefferson was so disturbed that his document had been damaged, he withdrew from the congress and went home to Virginia, where he served out the war years as it’s Governor. But he would not resist for long the demand for his leadership, by the turn of the new century he would be the President of the United States.

As the President, Jefferson would show the decided face of the man with conflicting views over the question of slavery, of slave ownership and the role of slaves in the ever expanding scope of America. When the leather met the road, Thomas Jefferson would prove that money talks...and all the moralistic flap, walks! More on this important disclosure a little later but let us return to the chronology of events.

First proposed as well in 1776, The Articles of Confederation, calling for a central government, subordinate to the states, is ratified by all thirteen states on March 1, 1781. Congress, made up of delegates chosen by the states is given certain limited power...and the states are not bound to carry out any congressional mandate.

1776 seems to be the age of enlightenment for the pseudo-intellectuals in the North. The North has evolved from the rudimentary and pragmatic motions of an economy based on agriculture and have systematically embraced the concepts of Adam Smith (1723-1790), the English Philosopher who wrote, ‘The Wealth of Nations’. This book was considered the bible of capitalism, and too many critics, a reminder of what went wrong in England.

None-the-less, Adam Smith was a staunch advocate of government staying out of the affairs of business...and most futuristic for the times, he preached that slaves were a drain on the economy because they tied up too much capital that could be invested in production facilities. In addition, Smith believed that the large plantation system was an inefficient use of the land. Moreover, he also stated that slaves cost more to maintain and were less easy to train than free laborers.

A crystallizing moment, in the birth of an emerging industrial giant; at the crossroads in the socio-economic status of a nation, sitting at the intersection...the road less traveled in 1776 Colonial America... led to the investment of capital in ships, factories, railroads, and canals...the future of the Northern Industrial Age. A road, which would require more trainable and energetic workers from Europe to sustain the economic engines of the revolution; rather than the often maligned slaves reputed to be lethargic...for which southern Planters had paid an estimated sixty million dollars by 1860. Merely a down payment for the reparation cost, to be paid in the next 150 years.

The south was blind-sided by the provisions related to slavery in the newly formatted U.S. Constitution. But nowhere, was it said that the lives of the Blacks in servitude to the planters were less tolerable than coal miners in Pennsylvania, railroad construction crews in Missouri or factory workers in New York…but they did have their freedom.

By the end of 1783 all northern states have banned the importation of slaves. However; this does not impact slaves who are in America prior to that time, or children born to slaves at that time, and those children of children of children through 1808 (the year of the watermark for the end of slavery) and on to 1860.

In 1787, operating under the Articles of Confederation, congress passed the Northwest Ordinance (another document drafted by Thomas Jefferson) establishing a government in the area (265,000 square miles) bounded by the Great lakes on the North; the Ohio River on the South; and the Mississippi River on the West. This territory had been ceded to the Colonials in 1783 by Great Britain and would later form the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and part of Minnesota to the consternation of four states who had laid claim to the territory. This ordinance called for the creation of new states, on an equal basis with the original thirteen, except, there is to be a ban on slavery.

In August of that year, delegates came to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, charged with the development of the form of the United States Constitution and compromised on three areas concerning slavery:

1.    Slavery or slave trade shall not be restricted by the constitution for a period of twenty years, which would be later enacted for 1808.

2.    Slaves may be taxed. (The U.S. might as well profit from slaves.)

3.    Slaves will be counted at three-fifths of their total population for the purpose of determining representation in the House of Representatives. A measure fought for by the south that would guarantee greater representation in the congress.

The Constitution was ratified by the congress in 1789.

Then an illegal act occurred which changed the focus of the North’s monied industrialist from abolitionist to fence straddler’s. The year was 1790 and the culprit involved in the illegal act was an Englishmen named Samuel Slater (1768-1835). At age fourteen, Slater was apprenticed to the English inventor, Sir Richard Arkwright...the nutty professor of the Industrial Age, who had designed a mechanical spinning frame that turned cotton fiber into gold (sic cotton).

England, in an attempt to protect the secret behind its cotton-milling monopoly, (remember Great Britain had a monopoly on slave trade as well). But this invention of Arkwright’s was the mother-lode, and Great Britain put a ban on anyone with knowledge of the technology from traveling out of the country.

In the United States, bounties were offered for this information. Slater, having memorized the machine’s design, slipped out of England in disguise and brought the secret to America. Slater opened the first mechanical spinning mill in (dear God don’t say the

North)...Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1790, the first colony to outlaw slavery in May of 1652...the Reverend Roger Williams was doing flips in his grave.

Interestingly in 1796, Mr. Slater opened a Sunday school for his workers to placate his conscious for the industrial theft.

Soon thereafter in 1793 another significant event occurred to enhance the industrial revolution and it too was tainted with thievery. Another Quaker from Rhode Island, Nathaniel Greene (1742-1786), a self-taught General became a trusted confident of General George Washington during the revolution.

After taking command of the army in the south, Greene experienced significant success and following the war, General Washington rewarded him with three valuable estates confiscated from the Tories. It was on one of these, Mulberry Grove on the Savannah River in Georgia that a young Yale graduate arrived to visit the overseer of the plantation, now in the hands of Greene’s widow, Catherine, one of Washington’s favorite dancing partners, (Nothing implied here, General).

Eli Whitney who came to this Georgia plantation as a tutor became intrigued with a slave labor issue which involved the difficulty of manually separating the cotton from the seed. He remembered the technology existed for a mechanical solution first invented in Asia and then perfected in Santo Domingo. Whitney soon discovered that this technology would not work on American cotton because the American cotton was so slippery (yes, cotton seeds as well as politicians) so he made certain changes to the Santo Domingo process and patented the Cotton Engine (Gin, later...but I insist on Gilbey’s neat with an olive).

The device was quite simple and easily duplicated, Whitney actually realized little profit from the invention but the wealthy Planters made fortunes. In the years before the war, cotton exports exceeded the value of all other American exports combined but along the way it created two major problems, both resulting in human sacrifice in the name of greed on the part of individuals, and the nation.

Following is a chart demonstrating the rise in the production of cotton after the inventions and the population explosion among slaves:


1790              3,000 BALES @ 500 Lbs. each                        697,897

1810             400,000 BALES                                                


1860            4,000,000 BALES                                              





We must not forget that the surge in the Black population from 1790 to 1810, a 58% increase in the number of slaves, occurred in the evolution of the law mandating the elimination of the importation of slaves into the United States as of 1808. According to the record the increase can be attributed to the increased birth rate among black slaves and the children produced were born as slaves, according to the law. American slaves and or their masters were capable of reproducing faster than they could be shipped from Africa, not to mention no payments to the middle-men including the Africans who made the slaves available, the Arabs who transported them to market and the British who sold them.

The increased birth rate helped to solve the production issue but the second problem was somewhat more difficult. Among crops grown in America, cotton took the worst toll on the soil, in fact, within a few years of planting without rotation; the cotton would render the soil nonproductive. Not a problem in 1790 with only 3,000 bales produced, there was more than enough land in the south to properly rotate the crops and maintain the health of the soil.

The problem was exacerbated by the fact that cotton required a certain climate for a specific period of time with a measured rainfall during the growing cycle. These conditions were unique to the south. Some relief came in the form of land leases with Mexico in the Texas territory. The Mexicans did not imagine the number of people or the importation of slaves, which was to come with the leasing of the land. Nor did they believe the resolve of the government of the United States to quench the thirst of expansionism into what became known as the “Manifest Destiny”, or the right of the United States to run from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.

Into the breach, once again, strode the brilliant, moody, narcissistic, slaver, the creator of masterpiece documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Northwest Ordinance...Thomas Jefferson. First as a Vice-President and then as President he dealt with the issue of expansionism by first looking to the south and beginning the process of diplomatic negotiations with Mexico.

At the same time Jefferson knew that a war was brewing between England and France. Napoleon Bonaparte doggedly pursued France’s property and in a twist of fate, found himself the owner of record, once again of the Louisiana Territory, originally settled by the French but lost to Spain in 1763 but under a secret treaty returned in 1800 to France with the proviso that if France ever gave it up, the territory would revert to the ownership of Spain.

But France held the territory in name only; to control it meant an armed occupation. Bonaparte realized that before he could launch a North American offensive he must have a military base and the former French colony of Hispaniola provided the perfect geographic location from which to launch a war. But a former carriage driver, Toussaint-Louverture and Yellow Fever combined to weaken the finances of France.

Secretly, Jefferson began to plan for a war with France, but first he sent James Monroe to assist Robert Livingston, the American envoy in Paris in negotiating a deal. Bonaparte reconciled that a North American venture wasn’t prudent in the face of a mounting resolution with England, totally surprised the Americans with an offer they could not refuse...all or none of the Louisiana Territory for 15 million dollars which would more than double the size of the United States in 1802. 



Four cents an acre for an area containing more than 800,000 square miles was added overnight, eventually creating the states of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. Thirteen new states without the loss of a single drop of American blood...for the moment. Texas would not be resolved so fortuitously, nor would the Native Americans already living there.

In January of 1808, as promised twenty years earlier, with the urging of President Jefferson, Congress passed legislation prohibiting the importation of slaves. At the same time the British parliament prohibited British subjects from engaging in slave trade as of March 1, 1808. But a distinction was drawn in America by the slaveholders that the constitution may have excluded slave trading but did not restrict the ownership of slaves. Be it free...or be it slave, by any other name it mattered not as progress on the backs of the slaves and the blood of the Indians plowed into the new territory with King Cotton.

But not everyone was happy about the new cotton power. White labor didn’t like it because the slaves drove down the wages. Northerners didn’t like it because all those slaves were giving southern states an edge in the Congress, where the major decisions about tariffs and dividing up all the new land was being made. 

Every new slave state would get two new senators, and most egregious was the 3/5ths rule were every vote in the House of Representatives were assigned out of proportion to their voting population by virtue of the right of the slave states to count each slave as 3/5 of a person for voting representation.




There were very few people at the time, who didn’t like slavery because it was wrong. Those few, mostly on the basis of religion were vociferous in their opposition to slavery. Among those...but uniquely separate, was a young Black man, born in Philadelphia, James Forten (17661842) made a fortune in the sail making business estimated at $100,000. Forten eventually used his wealth to fund the abolition movement and the murderous escapades of abolitionist John Brown; who gave violence to the voice of the pacifist, and revenge to the psyche of the benevolent, while disdaining the murder of slaver owners publicly, as the blood spilled onto innocent generations, privately, those who bank-rolled the killings lived vicariously through the actions taken by the maniacal killer John Brown, whom our hero, Lech Lenahan would have a hand in capturing.

What was the difference between the murderous midnight raids of the 17 abolitionist John Brown and the midnight raids of the hate mongers who killed innocent Blacks? Those racist groups, the Klu Klux Klan among them... spawned by Brown’s hatred would bring brutal and senseless retaliation for the deaths of the slavers, in the years after the war.

The stormy relations between Mexico and the United States had been going on for several decades but since the 1820’s the emotions were more openly discussed among the followers of Steven A. Austin (1793-1836) who had been invited through his father to come to Texas for the development        of      farming in      the    sparsely      settled  bottom lands in what was then a Mexican province. They brought with them their slaves, an act, which the Mexicans did not approve.

In 1833, the colonist met with the government of Mexico and asked for the right to self-govern the 20,000 Americans and 4,000 slaves living there. Mexico denied them the right to do so. Steven Austin advised the colonist to declare independence and he was promptly arrested and jailed until 1835.

In December of 1835, Mexican President/General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna became the military dictator of Mexico and extended Mexico’s law against slavery into the territory of Texas. Settlers there vow to secede from Mexico, and Steven Austin began to gather men to help in the struggle to come. In February, 1836 at a Franciscan mission in San Antonio, the Alamo, Austin with 186 men, women and children held off a force of 4,000 Mexicans under the command under the command of Santa Anna for nine days. All of those who had come to fortify the Alamo, including a rough bunch from Tennessee led by Davy Crockett, were murdered by the Mexicans except for six individuals. General Santa Anna ordered the woman, her daughter and a single slave to go forth and warn others what would happen to them…the three remaining prisoners were systematically savaged by the Mexicans and all bodies in the Alamo were drenched in oil and burned alive.

“Remember the Alamo,” became the battle cry at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836 where Sam Houston commanded 800 men against the 4,000 and routed the Mexicans in eighteen minutes. The Republic of Texas was founded but never recognized by Mexico who continued to demand the return of Texas to them. However the Mexicans did not forget the brutal beating they took at the hands of the Texans at San Jacinto, and they never again crossed the border in retaliation. Moreover, millions of their citizens today, cross the borders into the United States, illegally to earn a living and fulfill the American dream for their precious children. They bring with them a serious work ethic which has been lost on the lazy American.

Nine years later in November, 1845, President James K. Polk attempting to settle with Mexico offered to purchase Texas and California. The Mexicans refused to negotiate with the United States Ambassador, James Slidell. The United States sent an armed force commanded by General Zachary Taylor to the mouth of the Rio Grande River, which Texas claimed as its southern boundary. Mexico claimed that the boundary was the Nueces River, northeast of the Rio Grande and considered the advance of Taylor’s troops to be an act of aggression and in April of 1846, Mexico sent troops across the Rio Grande.

A border incident occurred wherein an American army soldier died under questionable circumstances. President Polk has sufficient pretext to advise Congress that an Act of War existed. Congress happily went along with few dissenters except for a few easterners, scattered Whigs and a writer named Henry David Thoreau who went to jail rather than to pay taxes to support the war and later wrote of the experience in an 1849 essay, “Civil Disobedience.”

It was a relatively brief war but the deadliest in our history, which saw 13% of our troops killed. But the victory brought the fulfillment of many American’s, certainly our Manifest Destiny had been realized with the addition of Texas and California at a cost of nearly fourteen thousand lives and $15 million dollars plus reparation of $3.2 million to Mexico. In thirteen years, the comrades-in-arms who had led our country would divide the ranks and shared experiences to face one another on the battlefields of the Great Civil War. They had proven beyond a doubt they knew how to command, how to kill and how to send our young soldiers to their deaths.

Nearly every significant Civil War commander served in the Mexican War, including Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Thomas Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, George B. McClellan, George Meade, James Longstreet, George Pickett, Pierre

Beauregard, Joseph E. Johnson, and Winfield Scott under whose command would be another future President, Franklin Pierce.

While the war with Mexico was going on in 1846 over 1.5 million Irish immigrants, most of whom were Catholic, were admitted to the United States. An important event, the migration representing nearly 7 1/2% of the population of the United States and most likely to compete for the lowest paying jobs or voting for the candidates offering the brightest future.

General Zachary Taylor was elected as President on November 7, 1848, Taylor was a slaver but did not live long to be of much influence, politically. He died of Cholera in 1850 and was replaced by Millard Fillmore who was definitively an antislavery.

In 1849 as a result of the influx of Irish Catholic immigrants, the protestants founded a new politically party to thwart the impact of the Irish Catholics and to undermine future immigration of foreigners, most especially Catholics into the United States. During the previous thirty years there had been 5 million immigrants admitted to the United States, mostly Catholics from Ireland and Germany a number bound to impact the political balance The name of this new party, founded by god-fearing men and women of the protestant and women who were following in the devious footsteps of their founder...a defrocked priest, was the Know-Nothings. This name was chosen by the imaginative protestant’s because of the clandestine/secretive nature of the new party and the lack of spine of its membership.

Another hate political group to join the already admitted bigots of the Free-Soil Party, formally the Liberty Party, which was the party of the abolitionist, joined by a group of radical members of the Whig Party and a more radical group of New York Democrats called the “Barn burners” (another spineless bunch who burned barns under the cover of night of anyone who didn’t agree with them, most especially Pro-slavers formed in Buffalo, New York.

America’s two principal parties: the Democrats, the party of Jefferson and Jackson and; the Whigs which had grown out of resentment and fear of Andrew Jackson to take the place of the Federalist Party, the party of John Adams and Alexander Hamilton were being splintered along geographic and philosophical lines related to slavery.

Into the vacuum created by the internal weakening of the two major parties, these offshoots would coalesce to focus the direction of politics under two new parties with old names. Before the spring saw the

Crocus, the Free-Soilers flowered in the elections of 1850. They nominated former President Martin Van Buren to face Whig Party nominee Zachary Taylor and a

Democrat of no distinction. Even with a former president and the underhanded politics played in New York, the party of Free-Soil did not win a single state and Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore won the White House. Proving that racism and bigotry by any other name wasn’t acceptable to the American voter but the Free-Soil Party, which had been joined by several other radical groups, had seen to the election of the last Whig Party candidate.

The California Gold Rush took place in 1849 and in 1850 the population of the United States was 23,191,876...there were 3,638,808 slaves. Herman Melville published, “White Jacket in 1850 and Moby Dick in 1851.”

Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky fashioned legislation called The Compromise of 1850 to settle the question of slavery in the new states formed by the land acquired from Mexico. There were five acts included in the agreement: two of them represented concessions by the slavers, the District of Columbia and California would be free states; New Mexico and Utah would be opened to both slaveholders and antislavery settlers; Texas, already a slave state was awarded $10 million in settling claims to adjoining territory; the last act was the Fugitive Slave Act providing for the prosecution of anyone not returning a runaway slave to his master.


Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was born in Litchfield, Connecticut. She was the daughter of a liberal Presbyterian minister, Lyman Beecher and sister of Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) pastor of the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims who would emerge as one of the most famous orators, preachers and gun-running abolitionist in American history. But both preacher/activist would take a back seat to the impact of Harriet and her sweet little book to be published in 1852.

Lyman Beecher moved his family to Cincinnati where he became the headmaster at Lane Seminary. One of his students, Calvin Ellis Stowe, also an ardent abolitionist, turned the head of Harriet and they were married.

Harriet’s interest, at the time, was primarily associated with maternal instincts and she began writing children’s stories and texts, including a successful schoolbook, Primary Geography for Children (1833). In 1839 she began contributing to Godey’s Lady’s Book, a popular magazine supporting an early generation of American writers, and in 1843 a collection of her stories were published.

While living in Cincinnati, Stowe hired blacks from their slave owners as domestic help and became intimate with certain hardships of their lives. Calvin Stowe took a position at Bowdoin College in Maine, where the Stowe’s experienced a deep and emotional loss of an infant son. One of Harriet’s sisters wrote to her, encouraging Harriet to write a book as therapy for the loss of the child. Harriet took her advice and she began to research newspaper accounts of fugitive slaves, coupled with her experience with blacks during her stay in Cincinnati, Ohio, producing a series of literary sketches in 1851 about slaves that ran in the National Era, an abolitionist journal, which was supported by her father and brother’s fame, influence and money.

In serial form, the articles attracted little attention outside the literary and abolitionist world. But in March 1852, the articles drawing on her deep emotional resonance of the recent loss of her infant son; the loss of children became a major theme in the articles and they were published as a book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly, and it’s astonishing success was unprecedented in American publishing history and politics as well.

Invited to the White House during the Civil War, she was supposedly greeted by the President: “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” What the sticks and stones of the abolitionist could not do... (Emotional words, of a fictional nature about an angelic terminally ill 21 child and a sainted black slave who cared for her...) would do, leaving 620,000 sacrificed in the wake.

In 1852 Franklin Pierce was elected President, defeating General Winfield Scott, under whom Pierce had served in the war against Mexico. Pierce appointed a Mexican war hero, Jefferson Davis, a former Senator, from South Carolina as his Secretary of War. Davis, of course would become the President of the Confederacy.

In May of 1854, The Kansas/Nebraska Act is passed, overturning the Missouri Compromise and opening the territory north of the old Missouri line to slavery. The “Little Giant,” Senator Steven A. Douglas, the dapper little man from Illinois whose only loss in life had been to Abraham Lincoln over the hand of the Lexington, Kentucky cotillion beauty, Mary Todd. Senator Douglas licked his social wounds (having lost the hand of Mary Todd to Lincoln) while working his political magic, passing the measure and ensuring as well the political spoils for his railroad interest, but would his aspirations for the White House be fulfilled in 1856?

In 1854 the Know-Nothings dropped their secretive society rules and came out of the closet as the American Party but there was hand ringing and feelings were raw, several members left the new party to join yet another national party with a distinctive antislavery flavor. The first meeting of this new party was held in Ripon, Wisconsin in February (the birth month of Lincoln). They brought together a diverse coalition of antislavery politicians, former dissidents of the Whig and Free-Soil as well as the Know-Nothings and disaffected northern Democrats. In July, at Jackson, Michigan the group officially adopted the name Republicans, no resemblance to the current party.

After only two years, the Republicans met in Philadelphia on June 17, 1856 and nominated western explorer and army general, John C. Fremont who was married to Jesse Benton, daughter of the powerful Senator from Missouri, Thomas Hart Benton. Running on the slogan, “Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Men, Fremont,” the Republicans carried all eleven Northern states in the election but received less than one percent of the southern vote. For the first time a purely Northern political party, had faced off against the party of the South...and lost, only a prelude to the battle to come.

The Kansas/Nebraska Act, put an end to Senator Douglas’s hopes for the White House, nor could former president Franklin Pierce get the nod of the Democrats at its convention, they nominated instead James C. Buchanan who had been far from the controversy, serving as the Ambassador to England under President Pierce. That made him a safe candidate for the presidency; there was no blood on his hands.

Ever the ambassador, in Buchanan’s inaugural speech, he played the role of Pontius Pilate washing his hands... in which he stated that the question of slavery “belongs to the Supreme Court of the United States, before whom it is now pending, and will, it is understood, be speedily and finally settled.” Buchanan knew something, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney issued a profound opinion in the matter of Dred Scott vs. Sanford. He stated that no black man, free or slave, was a citizen of the United States and therefore a black man had no right to sue in federal court. He ruled that Congress had no right to ban slavery in territories because the Constitution protected people from being deprived of life, liberty, or property. According to Taney, slaves were property like goats or mules, and could be taken anywhere under the jurisdiction of the United States.

Another shining moment for the courts and the law of the land, the vote by the justices ran along party lines, seven Democrats against two Republicans but even as the proslavery element rejoiced, the stage was set for the elections of 1860.





In the summer of 1855, Electus Dominus “Leck” Lenahan took blanket, a squirrel gun, a canteen, a mess kit and a few vitals packed by his maw and set out on a journey in the making of a man. He stood six four and weighed a hundred eighty-five pounds, but he was a tough kid, as the baby in a family of fourteen. Nothing would prevent him from joining the federals, and becoming a member of the US Calvary. On that day he rode out of Kentucky and into history.

Leck Lenahan loved his family, but, when you are fifteen too much of a good thing is often misunderstood...and Leck knew the family would not let him grow-up. His neighbor since birth, Gabe Russell, left the same day to ride along with his buddy. They had thought of nothing more than to be on their own, a part of a professional Calvary outfit, which allowed them to ride horses and shoot savages.

They rode west to St. Louis and joined the federals and participated in their first action in Missouri. Sent out to quell the locals, in a show of force to put down a disturbance when a band of settlers moved through headed west, with three slaves in tow. It was the boy’s first exposure to the issue of slavery; it was an ugly sight Leck Lenahan remembered for years to come.

The west had split loyalties in the early days of the coming divide and the great Civil War. There were those who believed that no man should be a slave to another. There were those who believed that a man who could not make his own way and was beholden to a master was indeed... his slave. There were those who believed that a slave had the right to wages for the work he performed; less the cost of his keep, and they argued, he should be afforded the opportunity to buy his chattel from the master. 

There were southern Planters, who believed the slaves they owned, were their business and none of anyone else’s. There were northern agitators who saw slavery as competition for goods and services, but were smart enough to disguise the real truth of their missions, with grand statements and proclamations on behalf of Negroes.

There was particular resentment in the north against the Union Conscription Act, which provided a loop-hole for the wealthy to avoid serving in the army, by paying for the services of someone else in their stead. Additionally, since 1792, blacks had been barred from serving in the army, and many whites, most especially... recent immigrants did not feel that they had “a dog in the fight.” Turns out they were the dog, 360,000 of them, would sacrifice their lives for the Emancipation Proclamation which was published in northern newspapers by Lincoln on September 22, 1862.

By itself, the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free the slaves, but it did change the character and course of the war. Lincoln’s contemporary critics and some modern historians point to the fact that Lincoln freed only the slaves of the Confederacy, not those in the border states or the seven territories retaken by Union forces; as one newspaper of the day comments, “The principle is not that a human being cannot justly own another, but that he cannot own him unless he is loyal to the Union.”

Lincoln’s position is that under the war powers he can legally free only those slaves in rebel-held territory; it is up to Congress, or the states, to address the question of universal emancipation. Interestingly, and to date that the abolitionist voices heard the loudest such as The Honorable Frederick R. Douglas and the Honorable William Lloyd Garrison, welcome and subscribe to Lincoln’s decision...not a word is heard as to when the congress will free the slaves.

So try to understand the frustration of certain of those who had been on the fence, but remained loyal to the Union, such as, General Fremont and Electus Dominus Lenahan. On April 12 1861, after the loss of Fort Sumter at Charleston, South Carolina, a Declaration of War existed to be fought ostensibly to free the blacks. 620,000 lives at a estimated cost of nine million dollars slaves remained shackled in the north but in the south they were free...because according to the President of the United States of America who had the power: let this lowly author repeat the brutal statistic he has read  and reread a hundred times to his consternation...620,000 men in the  north and south were sent to their deaths but the President of the  United States of America and the voices for emancipation in the north  did not have the power to free the slaves in the north...give me a  break when you ask, “what was the war fought over?”...if you are still unable to answer this question you are either “brain dead” or excused because you are “intellectually challenged.”

There were small farmers, hand to mouth operations...tenant farmers who despised slavery because of the unfair advantage it gave to the Planters. Into this category fell Abraham Lincoln’s father and under the philosophy of his father, Abe Lincoln grew to believe and express his opposition to slavery as an economic reality. The lines were being drawn... are you free or are you slave? And the federals were being drawn daily into the fracas, as more and more settlers began to move farther west to avoid the coming blood bath over the issue of slavery.

Truth was, slavery came with the founding of America, and the very first slaves were the red man...not the black man. Certainly the red man did not have to make the journey from Africa, but the journey of a broken spirit begins when the first step is taken in shackles. Somehow little was made over the plight of the red man, lost perhaps in the struggle for freedom was the inherent guilt of the American take-over of their precious land, the hunting and fishing grounds, the vast herds of the Buffalo, which the red man depended upon to feed, clothe and shelter his family.

The government made one treaty after another with the red man...and when those treaties became impediments to the western movement, the red man was pushed to other less productive reservations, out of the way, out of sight. Fortunate for the red man, they had a pride, and an innate ability to hunt and forage for a living and they never became dependent upon the life style of the American in the city or on the farm. Therefore, the vast majority remained on the reservations maintaining a meager but independent lifestyle. But, even as they remained, in what was then called the Indian Territory, whites pushed further west and brought with them, the corruption of civilization and its criminal nature, which once again pitted the white man against the Indian.

Into this mix came the lawless, the fearsome men who rode as guerilla warriors in outlaw gangs...swooping down on banks, trains and stages to seize booty and terrorize the communities. During the Civil War they fought in Confederate guerrilla bands whose hit-and-run tactics on Union troops, confused and scattered the troops giving advantage to the smaller Confederate units, while sowing fear along the Kansas-Missouri border zone. Infamous among these many gangs was: William C. Quantrill’s Raiders, the James brothers (Frank and Jesse) and the fearsome abolitionist led by John Brown, the diabolical killer funded by wealthy individuals and churches in the north.

Henry Starr who operated a gang in the Indian Territory evoked the appeal of the bandit life this way: “Life in the open, the rides at night, the spice of danger, the mastery over men, the pride of being able to hold a mob at tingles in my veins. I love is wild adventure.”

Lenahan and Russell loved it as well...but they loved it within the law, even if it meant, at times, being a party to the lawless... sworn to uphold the law and fight for the right of every man, woman and child

to be free to associate, to work, to love, to pray, to live out the American dream for which the war of 1776 was fought.

On August 10, 1861...Union forces lead by General Fremont was soundly defeated at Wilson’s Creek, Missouri. General Fremont withdraws, surrendering much of Missouri, a border state that had not joined the Confederacy. To reverse his military losses, Fremont declares martial law and announces that the slaves of secessionists are free, (once again if you have remained loyal and have not seceded from the holy Union, you may keep your slaves).

Sounds like the correct and reasonable thing to do. But, in the face of defeat, one has to ask the question...what right did ‘Fremont, the Pathfinder’ as the vanquished, have to make any orders at all...he had surrendered! But wait...along comes the fearless leader of the Union, the President (advocate of the slaves) and demands that the order be withdrawn. Now for the first time... and a full year before the publication of the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves, Lincoln rescinds an order by his commander, which freed the slaves in Missouri. Go figure.

Fremont refuses the demand, stating that the request by the President “is a vulgar slap in the face to those brave men who have given their lives as the price of freedom for blacks in America.” The President removes Fremont from the command and Fremont’s protégé, Electus Dominus Lenahan resigns his commission to join forces of William C. Quantrill under special orders of General Ulysses S. Grant.

Author’s note: Thank you for your patience in helping me to establish the historical background for the novel to unfold in the balance of the book. I have added additionally, after each chapter, (in this type-face) in order to distinguish the chapters of the fictional novel from certain historical facts occurring along the time period of the novel. It is my hope that you will enjoy this method, and that it will not interrupt the pleasure of reading the novel. My very best regards to all, and ...good read!


                  SOUTH CAROLINA SECEDES


(“WILL YOU BE SLAVES OR INDEPENDENT” JEFFERSON DAVIS, President of the Confederate States of America)


The elegant Charleston Hotel was surely the place to be...a veritable who’s who of politicians, lawyers, wealthy planters, businessmen and other assembled would bees loitering in the lobby and the overflowing bar which was the place to be seen.

There was a festive air, only a few days to Christmas of 1860, and all those assembled seemed in a hospitable and expectant mood. Oscar Matterly, a wealthy Planter from Central Kentucky was the first to notice the elderly South Carolinian, Edmund Ruffin enter the bar area.

“Edmund!” Matterly stood and waved to his old friend.

“Come have a drink...we’re toasting tomorrow and the future.” He beamed as Ruffin approached the table. The others stood to greet the wealthy and well-known slaver and secessionist.

“Oscar, you old still alive?” Ruffin smiled in a good natured manner as he grasped the hand of the richest Planter in Kentucky, and a leading advocate for his state to follow the lead expected of South Carolina to secede from the union.

“Tomorrow we’re going to get a five day jump on St. Nick.” Matterly said, as the others roared their approval.

“1860 will prove to be a watershed year in the history of this country and South Carolina will lead the choir...sending a resolute message to our neighbors to the North. We refuse to give up our freedom and the right to run our states” Bill Pollard said as he hugged the old man. 

“And you have always been the choir master, Mr. Ruffin.” Robert Stone said extending his hand in friendship.

“Mr. Ruffin, permit me to introduce a friend from California, Glenn Swindler.” Bill Pollard said.

“My pleasure indeed, to one who has traveled so far, to observe the delegation and the historical

process...welcomes Mr. Swindler.” Ruffin said

“In no official capacity sir, but an honor to meet the man known across the country with the clarity of conscience and fortitude to stand against those who would thwart freedom, and the rights of the states to self-determination.” Swindler said.

“Yes, I anticipate South Carolina will fire a loud and effective message that every state in the union has the right to self-determination, on issues greater than slavery...we kicked George’s ass when he tried to impose his burdensome levy...we refuse to be held hostage to a federal government intent on bankrupting the states through its aggressive taxation to aid the northern manufacturing element.” Ruffin said to the obvious delight of the other choir members. “Most of this country does not understand that a most salient fact gentleman...the coming war is not over the Negro but the enslavement of the nation while hooked to the engines of progress!”

A roar went up as Edmund Ruffin completed what sounded like a stump speech with a message as clear as any which might have been written by Abe Lincoln, himself.

“You got that right Edmund...we’re too damn smart to become the Niger’s of the north.” Shane Seller said. “The question is who will do the bidding in the west...will

California come in as a Free or Slave State Mr. Swindler?”





“Of course, we are new to statehood but my guess is that we are equally 28 divided at this time and as you know we may be looking to South Carolina and perhaps even Kentucky to move our process.” Swindler said turning from Oscar Matterly hoping that the older man would not recognize him for there was work to be done and undercover activity was the order of the day.

“That sounds like a copout, you already know where South Carolina is going; but let us face the facts, gentlemen, California is so far west... and out of the mainstream, that they know they are the masters of their own it free or be it slave, it’s only a name.” 

“Kentucky is feeling the pressure from Washington as we sit. Lincoln can ill afford to lose his home state...but what the hell, those of us in Kentucky don’t consider him a Kentuckian anymore with his long history in Indiana and Illinois.” Matterly said.

“Sit down here your old bones and let me get you a nice hot toddy to warm your countenance.” Matterly urged.

“What the hell are you campaigning for Oscar...thanks for the offer of the hot toddy but just order me a double Kentucky bourbon with a spring water on the side.” Ruffin said.

A black waiter stood nearby...Matterly waved for a round for the group.

“Heh boy...did you hear what The Honorable Mr. Ruffin is drinking...make that the best Kentucky bourbon in the house...and make it quick.” Matterly said.

“Yes su masser.” The waiter hurried off, like some whipped dog, as he left the room.

“Colonel Matterly...might I have a moment to speak with you privately.” Shane Sellers from Virginia whispered.

“Why certainly Shane...walk with me to the lobby...excuse us for a moment gentlemen.” Matterly said to the group. The wealthy Planter and member of the Kentucky Militia lead the way into the sprawling lobby of the hotel, which was crawling with guest.

“As always you’re very gracious with your time Colonel.” Sellers said as they settled in the plush wing chairs on the edge of the lobby.

“Could I offer you a freshly handmade cigar...just purchased this very morning.” Sellers offered.

“Why thank you Shane.” Matterly took the expensive cigar, cut the end with a small gold knife, rolled it through his mouth and held it between his teeth awaiting a light from one of the wait staff as though it was a part of his routine. Sellers didn’t wait for the Negro waiter, he placed the fire just below the tip of the cigar as Matterly puffed and rolled the cigar over the flame. When it appeared to have good fire he 29 took a longsmoke toward the atrium ceiling,  draw and blew the

large plume of gray

a shaft of light pierced the smoke forming a halo affect around the two men and casting a cloud over the lobby, an ominous sign of the perilous times in which they lived. 

“Colonel do you happen to know a family in Kentucky name of near Bardstown?” Sellers asked.

“Dear          God yes...know them all...Micks you know...son-of-a-bitches breed          like   that big thoroughbred stallion you got Shane...large clan...came from Ireland.I believe originally in about


maybe...came into Kentucky from Maryland at the turn of the century...which one you interested in?” Matterly asked.

“My daughter went up to St. Louis for the summer a couple of years ago...visiting my sister Lillian; you know married the Planter, Frisk. Well seems this young man, a Jr. officer Lenahan... I believe been serving out west with the Regulars...but recently moved to a Calvary unit...maybe the 3rd U.S.” Sellers said.

“Yes indeed, I do know the young man...there are several of those Lenahan’s in the Militia but this boy apparently wanted off the farm to fight Injuns...joined up a few years ago...hell bent to be a cavalryman, somewhat against the old man’s advice...but like I said, huge family, dozen or more kids...those Micks breed their own slaves.” Matterly laughed and continued.

“Good people Shane...but you know... hand to mouth types. Illiterate...certainly not up to your class of know what I mean”. He said.

“Thank you Colonel, my little Mary means a lot to big plans for her.” Sellers said

“You mean you are trying to arrange a land merger.” Matterly laughed heartily.

“Something of that do have to watch after know how kids are...the fire in their midsection cuts off all circulation to the brain...a young woman sees one of those dashing uniforms and ...well they just can’t reckon the future or even begin to ask the serious questions.” Sellers said

“Should I make some inquiry or speak to the boy’s daddy?” Matterly asked.

“Not at this time Colonel...Mary has promised her mother and me that it was 30 just a summer flirtation and we have no need to be concerned...I do love her so and I suppose... I need to trust her for the time being...but if you will be kind enough to keep this under your hat...I’ll call on you should the situation change.” Sellers said 

“Anytime...the offer is open I need to ask you a question about booking a mare to your this Blue Hen...perfect match with that big fellow of yours.” Matterly inquired.

“Colonel, you could not have asked about a breeding season at a better time, any time after February he’ll be going to work...we have contracts in hand to breed him twice a day until June, now since its in the family, and we can take care of the registration notices to the authority...of course you know that all thoroughbred foals become a year old automatically the first day of could send your mare up any time before’ll have a nice early foal, getting a three or four month jump, on the rest of the field...and no ones the wiser.” Seller said with a twinkle of the horse trader.

“Hell, who knows maybe your mare will throw a colt capable of winning that new race they keep talking about running at Belmont...supposed to be at a mile and a half, strictly for three year old colts.” Sellers said.

“My mare’s just like me Shane, bred for stamina...can run all day, play all night...she is a stayer.” Matterly said with a big smile.

“But I know August of them Yankee blowhards, been hearing of this race and another over at Maryland at mile and 3/16th...for big money...we’ll see.”

“Sounds like we need to have something in the south to showcase our best since we have the most outstanding stallions.” Sellers said

“Sounds mighty good Shane...but what is this little caper going to cost me...seeing’s as your stud is standing for a king’s ransom?” Matterly said with a coy look as he put out the cigar he had been smoking.

“Who said anything about fees between family...lets call it a Quid Pro Quo should I have to call on you, in the future, regarding that Micks interest in my little gal” Sellers extended his hand to clinch the deal.


Abe Lincoln and his family had long since departed Kentucky (1816) when Gabe Russell was born in 1840. Though they lived only miles apart, (Lincoln was born February 22, 1808 in a single room log cabin in Hodgenville) the divide between the Lincoln’s and most of their Kentucky neighbors could not have been wider. The principle reason for this discord was the bitter attitude of Abe’s father, Thomas Lincoln, a dirt poor farmer, toward the issue of slavery. The advantage slaves provided rich Planters, posed an unfair market advantage for lower end farmers. Thomas Lincoln knew these conditions doomed the future prosperity for his family. Purely for selfish economic reasons Abe’s father, became a strict abolitionist and preached the evil of the slave condition to anyone who would listen, especially young Abe.

Realizing that he and his family were not going to survive conditions in which they found themselves in Kentucky, Thomas moved his family to Indiana... and then on to Illinois where young Abe was able to grow roots as well as his own social attitudes. The lessons learned at the heel of his father, would lead him to the Presidency of the United States and the infamy of leading the Union against the Confederacy in what was known as Mr. Lincoln’s War. Certainly one can speculate what the impact of the dire conditions under which the Lincoln family lived, had on young Abe. But it is safe to say that the old adage, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” applies to this family more than any other in the history of this country.

It was, in fact, Mr. Lincoln’s own hell, a devastating war but certainly not a war of his making. While it was well known that Lincoln abhorred slavery... this peculiar institution, as he referred to it... and publicly called for its abolition. At heart he was a peacemaker and did not denounce the owners of slaves, as had his father, and it is known that Abe made various efforts to appease the Southerners to abate the growing issue of secession of the slave states. Music to the ears of the Southerners, who preached state’s rights, against the concept mounted in the north of federal sovereignty.




While Mr. Lincoln would lead the Union, another Kentucky son would mount the leadership of the Confederate States of America. Jefferson Davis, born the same year as Lincoln (1808), Davis migrated to Mississippi after graduating from West Point in 1828, a year ahead of Robert E. Lee. Davis became a Planter (the ruling class in the south) and served Mississippi as a Congressman until 1845. He resigned from congress to fight in the Mexican War (April 25, 1846) in which Davis was severely wounded and won a hero’s praise. He returned to the Congress as a Senator, and later served as Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce, thereafter returning again to the congress. 

As Kentucky sons, Davis and Lincoln made their way toward the pinnacle of power and prestige. Gabriel Caldwell Russell and Electus Dominus Lenahan had decided to join the federals and fight the injuns. In 1860, the year Lincoln won the Presidency there were only about 16,000 troops, almost all of them scattered on the western frontier. By March 4, 1861, Leck Lenahan was a veteran of several Indian skirmishes while fighting under the command of “the Pathfinder” General Fremont and Leck had past his 20th birthday without serious injury... army life was all he had hoped it would be. But the election of the more famous Kentucky sons would change forever the life of Electus Dominus Lenahan as well as the history of the nation.

On that day, Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as President of the United States of America, the man with little formal education, who had tried and failed to earn a living at several occupations, had found one, at last, in which he fit. But instead of leading thirty-three states in the Union, Lincoln would take charge of twenty-seven while swearing that no other state would secede, especially Kentucky. Lincoln assured this political reality by permitting the “border states” to keep their slaves, as long as they did not secede.

On April 12, 1861 the first shot was taken of the Great War. South Carolina troops moved against Fort Sumter, capturing it with little difficulty. It is speculated, 75 year- old, Edmund Ruffin fired the second shot of the war...the first coming from the commanding officer to signal the attack. Edmund Ruffin was secure in his convictions that the south could not live under the tyrannical rule of a country which sought to pass unjust laws to oppress the states and their right to self-determination.

On April 13, 1861, President Lincoln executed the order to call up 75,000 men, mounting a campaign, which Lincoln knew would bring freedom to the blacks and retribution for his deceased father. But at a cost Lincoln could not fathom... for though he was a southerner by birth, he knew not the soul of the south by birthright. He could not imagine how hard and long these Southerners would preserver for the cause of the land and the right to determine one’s own future. Because all Southerners knew, that this was not to be a war to free the blacks, but was indeed, a war to enslave the heart of the south.


How different life would have been if the early part of the war had been properly executed after the Battle of Bull Run and the north defeated in the early stage of the war. The Capital, no doubt would have moved...perhaps to Birmingham, Alabama, more to the center and heart of the south. There would have been a serious roll-back of federal taxes and the wholesale release of the growing bureaucracy in Washington. 

The north would have been left to manage its own insane appetite for growth and expansion of what end. Men, women and children working from daylight to dusk under conditions never experienced in the south, for wages that barely permitted a family to survive.

Think of it, they fought the great Civil War for that right. Cities under the scourge of black, billowing coal dust, reminiscent of London before the turn of the 19th century. Whose hand is it... that reaches out and predetermines destiny...who is it that looks life in the eye and says: clean air is unnecessary; fresh water a waste; children should labor as well, and as long, as adults; who is it that says you cannot live without a rug at the hearth or one on your head; drive a horseless carriage; live in a bigger house with no room for a garden?

It certainly wasn’t Abe Lincoln...but if the war could be placed at the feet of any names that might be recognized, they would be those seen as the Captains of Industry, perhaps we would be surprised to see fancy phrases, instead of names, such as: Economic Determinism; The theory of historical and political events and structures. Political or historical developments are determined by the underlying economic system or by the distribution of power over economic resources. Economic Liberalism; This term refers to the maximum role of markets and competitive forces in an economy. The state’s role is limited to the establishment of the necessary framework in which markets can operate and to the provision of services which private enterprise cannot provide. Economic Methodology; This is the process by which economics is explained: the philosophy of science as applied to economics. Economic Theory of Politics; This is an analytical model, which assumes that politicians are vote maximizers and voters are utility maximizers. Each voter is assumed to support the political party that will provide him with the highest degree of utility, (money) when it is elected. Politicians, motivated by self-interest and the desire to remain in public office, formulate policies, which will attract the maximum number of votes. Economic Theory of the State; This is an analytical framework for examining the role of institutions, taxation and law in the creation of economic models...this is what drives the hardware. 




Economy Principle; Also referred to as parsimony, this is the general heuristic stating that if two scientific theories or propositions are equally acceptable, the simpler is to be preferred. The principle is fine in theory but has restricted applications because it is rare to find two prostitutes, (I meant postulates) which can be regarded as equally acceptable. Moreover in psychology and cognate disciplines there are no methodologies for measuring the complexity of theories.

So there you have it, the Captains of Industry are driven by language carefully designed so that nothing is ever accomplished, except that which is driven by law, fulfilling the golden maxim which maintains the 

Politicians in office, and keeps the taxes flowing for the bureaucrats and the pork. A sort of self-fulfilling prophecy somewhat similar to the story of the two farmers who had one mule, which they sold back and forth to each other for years, making the event, the basis of their economic well being... until one poor soul, sold the mule to someone outside    the    game...causing    the other          farmer        to am I too live!

Following are a few of the vital statistics on the material differences between the combatants:



*  Twenty-three states, including California,

Oregon, and the Three “border States” of Missouri, Kentucky and Maryland, plus seven territories.

*  Population: 22 million with 4 million men of combat age.

*  Economy: 100,000 factories

1.1 million Workers 

20,000 miles of rail    56 million in gold

189,000 million in deposits

*                   The ability to tax at will to pay northern

manufactures to Supply the War. South

*                   Eleven states and the three “border states”


Kentucky and Maryland).

*  Population: 9 million with 1.6 million men of combat age.





*   Economy: 20,000 factories 101,000 workers 9,000 miles of           $47 million in bank deposits

     $27 million in gold

 *       No tax base. 

On paper, this war looked like a mismatch. About the only thing the south seemed to have going for it was the home field advantage. Looking at the numbers alone, the south’s decision and fortunes seemed doomed from the outset. But as the history of warfare has consistently proven, David often defeats Goliath...or, at the least, makes them pay dearly for their victories. The south needed no better examples then the patriots who had defeated England in the Revolution.

Contrary to popular opinion, the north vastly outproduced the south in agricultural products and livestock holdings. The only commodity that the south produced in greater quantities than the north was cotton. And fortunate for the south, at least for the short term, all the cotton was shipped overseas. But the north had the means to increase their wartime supplies and ship them efficiently by rail. The south would have to purchase weapons, ships, and arms from foreign sources, exposing itself to a Union blockade, and the interference of France and England, systematically positioning them for the future of a divided Commonwealth.

On the south’s side of the balance sheet there were several small but significant factors, giving the south an advantage. The U.S. Army was largely comprised, and was led by Southerners who immediately resigned their commissions in the Union military in favor of the Confederacy. Southerners were for the most part better horsemen, better marksmen, and because they were more in tune with the land they all had their own weapons, using them for hunting and sporting.

The armies of the north were largely made up of conscripts from the urban centers, many of them immigrants who spoke no English, less familiar with arms and tactics and fighting on “foreign turf” for dubious reasons in their minds... for an ideology in which they could not identify... on the question of slavery and preserving the Union.






All of this gave the Confederacy an immediate advantage in trained soldiers and command leadership. In addition, the war would be primarily fought on southern soil giving all the advantages of fighting at home-familiarity with the terrain, popular partisan support, the motivation of defending the homeland, which had contributed to the American defeat of the British in the Revolution, were all small elements on the side of the recently formed Confederacy... which was not an advantage.

But as we began this exercise...what would have happened if the south had moved immediately into Washington D.C upon the heels of its stunning military victory on July 21, 1861 in The First Battle of Bull Run (or First Manassas). The State of Maryland, had already witnessed its first blood-shed in Baltimore, and a decided Confederate victory. 

Many of the Civil War scholars, and all those whose opinion matter, are convinced that the Confederacy was better organized and was superior in scope and definition and could have easily taken Washington but for one small consideration. The north and the south were commanded by gentlemen, who had graduated from West Point, and lived by the ‘code’ of the military academy. One of the greatest Civil War Generals, (West Point-1846), Thomas J. Jackson, professor of military tactics and natural philosophy at Virginia Military Institute is fondly nicknamed, “Stonewall” for his leadership of the stand made by his troops that turned the tide of the battle at Bull Run. But as a professional was getting dark and General Jackson chose to let the enemy lick their wounds. Regrettably he could not lick his, and died early in the War from friendly fire.








Montgomery, Alabama was selected as the provisional capital of the newly formed Confederate States of America and even as President-elect Abraham Lincoln made his way to Washington from Springfield, Illinois for his swearing in and inaugural on February 18, 1861, he received word that former Senator Jefferson Davis from Kentucky had been chosen as the provisional president pending a vote of the confederate states to officially select a new president in 1862.

Lincoln, four days short of his fifty-third birthday winced against the chill of human nature and the historical inevitability of the coming massive tragedy of a Civil War. His intelligence had provided him with most of the salient facts surrounding this event. “One nation under God,” he thought...and by-god it shall remain that way. Seven hundred fucking rich Planters can push nine million of our fellow Americans into this human tragedy and we are wont to accept that they will not be dissuaded from the involuntary servitude of those nearly nine million, except by the fires of a brutal war.

Traveling with a railroad detective from Chicago, Allen Pinkerton whom Lincoln had known from his days as legal counsel to the Illinois Central Railroad where also one of Lincoln’s Union generals George Brinton McClellan had served as an executive as well. Pinkerton had convinced McClellan and others in the new administration that a plan was afoot to assassinate Lincoln in route to Washington. Lincoln’s fears were further confirmed in Philadelphia by General Winfield Scott So Lincoln had sent his family along on another train while he disguised himself as the invalid brother of another female Pinkerton detective in a sleeping car. In addition to these detectives, Lincoln traveled as well with his trusted friend from Springfield, Ward Hill Lamon who acted as a body guard for the President-elect as the train traveled through Maryland into Baltimore and on into Washington. Safe from the assassination plot...for four years when another such plot would spring from operatives in Baltimore, led by an actor by the name of John Wilkes Booth.

Through the window of his car, Lincoln watched the train glide along the wintry landscape, crossed its hills and valleys... the season hung like an old coat, unfashionable but warm. Could he maintain his old values as well, as he faced the mounting and hysterical cries in the rest of the country to tame this beast in the south once and for all? Haste was not his nature, he knew...he was a compromiser and though he hated slavery, he felt deeply that the natural order of the future would bring an end to this most disgusting and evil practice. Dear God, he prayed give me the time and patience to strike sense and not fear into a majority seeking revenge.

Who is this man, Jefferson Davis whom the Confederates have selected to lead them against me...strike that, the United States he thought. We were both born in Kentucky in the same year, though I am slightly more than ninety days older than he. While Davis was at West Point, I was struggling to pay off bills of a failed merchants shop. I know that Davis married one of the daughters, Sarah Taylor... of my favorite general and great American hero, Zachary Taylor. But I heard that Sarah had died tragically of Malaria... less than six months after they had wed. Dear God his sorrow must have been great for I would be less a man without the love and support of my darling, Mary Todd.

I remember that I had heard through the political grapevine that he was so distraught over the death of his beautiful bride that he fled his plantation in Mississippi and went to the Carolinas where he regained his health and sanity. He was in the Congress, served well, but resigned to serve his country in the War with Mexico. The man is a patriot Lincoln thought...hell and a hero...heard that he was wounded twice in the Battle of Buena Vista and nearly died of that same Malaria which he had contracted along with his darling wife, Sarah.

Why in God’s name would a brilliant man like Davis...a dedicated public servant, who obviously loves this country as much as I or any of those goddamned dragons on both sides of the issue of slavery profess to love it. Well at least the poor bastard must have finally gotten some resolve when he returned from the war to Mississippi 

He married some beautiful young belle named Varina Howell...eighteen years his’s a wonder she didn’t fuck him to death. But apparently made him a better man...he was re-elected to the Senate and served as Secretary of War under Franklin Pierce in 1853, after which he reclaimed his senate seat...and I believe chaired the committee who investigated that worthless son-of-a-bitch John Brown over the disaster at Harpers Ferry.

Then, as ironic as it was that we had never met I thought we might meet on the political podium in 1860 when Benjamin Butler of Massachusetts placed his name in nomination at the Democratic convention but apparently Davis knew that he could not garner votes in the north because of his southern heritage and less than a month ago, he resigns from the senate in support of Mississippi’s withdrawal from the Union. I wonder, Lincoln thought could I have done the same where the shoe on the other foot...would I have the same feeling for Illinois?

Lincoln would remember the night and his deep personal thoughts as his train carried him to Baltimore and on into Washington. But once he became President, the consistency of his personality on which he had based his life evaded him... as an old friend, Alexander Hamilton Stephens (“Little Ellick”) to whom Lincoln had sent a Christmas note before journeying to Washington came to the Capitol in his official capacity as VicePresident of the Confederacy...dispatched by Jefferson Davis in an attempt to negotiate a last minute settlement with the Union. Stephens and two others met in secrecy with the Secretary of War, William Henry Seward who promised without Lincoln’s authority that Fort Sumter would be evacuated. Lincoln refused to see his old friend who waited nearby, clutching the Christmas note, Stephens wept as he reread the warmth and the message from the President, “For your eyes only!” it read...”I promise that my administration will not interfere with slavery.” A friend at Christmas...a rebel before the first sight of the crocus.










The early spring morning weather had not come up as Leck Lenahan had hoped. Driving a herd of cattle from Bardstown to Raywick, some thirty-five miles was ornery enough without having to contend with the weather. But it could have been worse, it could be sleeting or snowing or raining bullets and arrows, Lenahan thought as he made his way to the barn to saddle his horse for the trip to Gabe Russell’s farm to pick up his neighbor and former Calvary unit buddy, the man who had been his best friend since childhood.

Lenahan and Russell had originally signed on with the army to earn a living, get three squares a day, uniforms and a place to sleep even if it meant, at times, doing so out of doors. Best of all you could do it on horseback. What more do you need when you’re fifteen, Lenahan remembered his friend saying. They were prepared to shoot a few Injuns but Lenahan remembered his friend saying... you know what they say about Injuns. That always puzzled Lenahan...he didn’t know what they said about Injuns...except they couldn’t hold their liquor! But what the heck Lenahan thought neither could he or Gabe Russell for that matter. Hell half of the federals, except for most of the brass... couldn’t hold its liquor, so what do we have on the Injuns. Lenahan meant to ask Russell that question; he hoped that he would remember to do so, on the trip to pick up the hides at Bardstown.

There would be lots of time for other inquiries as well. Major among those would be the issue of Russell’s marriage to the 40 widow Ima Longing. A woman nearly twenty years Russell’s senior. What was going on there...but unlike the rest of the community gossip and saloon talk, Lenahan only had to look at his friends eyes to know the real truth. This was a happy man, and that was all that mattered.

Lenahan knew Russell better than he knew anyone. Leck was the youngest of fourteen children born to James and

Bartheney McNair in 1840, an after thought, Ma had told him. The last of the children, she had thought at unlucky thirteen, were twin boys born in 1834. Christian and Thomas had very nearly killed her at age twenty-seven. But she had survived the delivery and six years later...surprise of surprises there was baby Leck for all the family to raise.

Unless you have grown up in a huge Catholic family with a large work ethic, and you are the youngest by six just can’t imagine the horror of it. At once you have five mothers and nine fathers. The mothers are always primping, squeezing, pinching, combing, primping, loving and kissing while the fathers are rolling, pushing, pulling, biting and teasing until you just have to withdraw in order to survive the torture.

That made for a wonderful childhood relationship between Leck and his neighbor Gabriel Caldwell Russell, born in the same year. They had been raised only a field apart, and one or the other of the boys were beating a path across it...on foot or horseback, beginning at age five. Spending most days with each other playing Injuns; hunting, fishing, swimming and trapping the illusive hunter’s mist. They had spoken of all things known and unknown, touched on the spiritual and most of all dreamed of the day they could join the Calvary and go off to war. They recreated those scenes in the trees, on the rocks, in the creeks and while running through the plush green meadows...the gallant lads of war, these sons of Irish immigrants who fought their way from the Green Isle in search of freedom and found it in the Happy Hunting Grounds of Kentucky. That plush bountiful place where all the Indian tribes came to wash away the winter in crystal clear lakes; streams and rivers, taking from it fish to fill and beaver to warm hearts that would always remember the canvas paintable by the master...never to be reproduced.

But soldiering had not gone well for Russell, the Minnie’ ball fired by an ambushing Cheyenne Indian took his leg at the knee stripping away the romanticism of war, exaggerated by the imaginations of boys running through a Kentucky meadow brought to the reality by men who anguished over lives and political decisions of infamy as those made by the generals like Fremont’s western campaign and later, Grant, Lee and Abe Lincoln. 


Searching for the right choices to ease the gnawing hunger for peace and prosperity as the nation expanded and the end of fear in once proud cities besieged and bombarded by weapons spewing neglect of morale duty and leadership failing to enforce the laws against man’s inhumanity to man.

That great Civil War among families who had come to this country...some willingly seeking freedom in life choices and the opportunity to honest labor to raise families... casting an ironic shadow on a country that practiced the institution of bondage for others, cutting deep, and increasingly bitter divisions between the Slave and the Free States. A 

country seemingly destined to perpetual conflict from within and without, on vital issues affecting them from the birth of a nation, born to struggle for freedom, born to die for it.

Men and women for and against slavery, states’ rights and the question of secession were the issues driving a growing and restless new country causing them to put forth their best, and often least prepared to settle the matters of conscious and pride or those of greed and power. Twenty three percent (23%) of southern families according to the census of 1860 owned 1,500,000 slave families. The statisticians in 1860 did not bother to point out that there were 3,200,000 slaves in the country, which meant that another 1,700,000 slaves were owned, by those in other parts of the country. But, that 23% would be labeled, throughout history, as being responsible for the 620,000 deaths attributed to the war.

The war itself was filled with incongruities; at the siege of Vicksburg... Missouri supplied the Union with 22 units and the South with 17, in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee pro-Union men held firm throughout the war, a Calvary company of all white men from Alabama rode with Union General Sherman in his march to the sea. Virginia’s western counties which had long waged old grudges on the iniquities of slavery and the economic advantages held by the pseudo-aristocratic Tidewater Planters, seceded from the rest of the state, and in 1863 joined the Union as a part of West Virginia.

Several of Abraham Lincoln’s family served with the south. Lincoln himself was known to have developed his attitude against slavery at the heel of his father. A nare do well tenant farmer whose failure was attributed, by Lincoln, to the disadvantages of growing field crops without the so-called free hands of the slaves. Robert E. Lee, the south’s magnificent fighting leader, thought slavery was evil and secession unjustified. The north’s indomitable Ulysses S. Grant owned a slave before the war; hard up for money he reportedly sold William Jones for 1,000 but before the transaction took place, Grant had a reversal of heart and set Jones free. It seems that Grant had discovered what most Northerners had known since before the Revolution...slavery wasn’t profitable, at least not in the north.



And last but certainly not least, the famous “Little Giant”, Senator Steven A. Douglas. A physically short, dapper, political powerhouse from Illinois who more than any other person may have been responsible for the political state and divisions which developed from legislation which Douglas carved from The Dred Scott to the Compromise of 1850. Then, he blatantly forces the Kansas-Nebraska Act to insure the extension of the railroads for which Douglas served in the conflicting role, as a member of the railroads Board of Directors and as a Senator regulating the industry. 

Slavery failed to flourish in the north due to a variety of reasons: the climate, one man farms, growing industrialism, urbanization, immigration, the small number of resident Negroes, competition and conscious all militated against it. Legal measures, statutes, constitutions, court decisions- provided for gradual emancipation and abolition. In 1775 Rhode Island, the cradle of liberalism gave freedom to any child born of a slave mother. Vermont took action in 1777. In 1787 the Northwest Ordinance barred slavery from the lands north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi. New York provided for gradual abolition in 1799; in 1817 she passed a law to end all slavery within her borders by July 4, 1827. The federal government had forbidden importation of Negroes after January 1, 1808.

Former President John Tyler, A Virginian, won a seat in the Confederate House of Representatives...and the anomalies ran on and on for a conflict with so many names. For the south it was the War Between the States, the U.S. official record called it the War of the Rebellion, there was the War Against Northern Aggression, the War For States Rights, the War For Constitutional Liberty, the War For the Preservation of the Union, the Brothers’ War, Mr. Lincoln’s War but most Southerners preferred to speak of it as the “Second War of Independence”

Gabe Russell referred to it bitterly as the war I was born to fight... with a stub leg!

Lenahan had watched the growing divide in the nation from a special vantage of Missouri border conflicts and a blood bath in Kansas over the ability of one man to own another... that few in the north could imagine. Although he worked daily among northern members of his unit, after rather intense sessions in bouts with boredom, he often found them disingenuous; insensitive with a misplaced sense of superiority as they spoke of liberty for all but pushed the Indians further and further into restrictive camps and reservation with limited travel privilege. Spaces, despite treaties hammered out in blood, which clearly defined the rights of the tribes over those passing through their land on their way to take possession of land belonging to other tribes and the Mexicans in California.



What was it about the northern willingness to ignore the atrocities to the Native Americans, taking the blood of the Native Americans while delivering a willingness to shed their own for the African? Lenahan had listened carefully to all sides of the issue in this melting pot at Fort Laramie and was deeply confused by the seemingly constricting northern viewpoint. Perhaps it was because the Indians owned black slaves themselves. 

Personally, he felt slavery was innately wrong from the moment he had seen it. Though there were few slaves in his community, his father knew a wealthy Planter, Oscar Matterly who had more than one hundred slaves, which he owned. Pap was very much opposed to it. Although he was a Planter as well, except for tobacco, most of what Joseph Lenahan grew was utilized by the family, either consumed, put on their backs, burned to stay warm or used to run the farm. Though Pap felt it was evil, he was unable to satisfy the curiosity of his young son on the issue, and Leck’s seemingly greater concern for the Native American. Leck never felt his father was a man given to deep philosophical convictions...he had a good heart but he was a man of the earth...slow to grow...slow to nurture and willing to watch as it happened.

Ma, on the other hand, was of a more fiery nature. She was quick to anger, strident to maintain a viewpoint...vigilant to win at any game, even if it meant to take an edge. Ask Ma a question and you got an answer, direct and to the point. She would not gloss over the issue, color the facts or be unwilling to admit that she could be wrong. She was basic, honest, hardworking and most definitely the lioness of the Lenahan family.

Perhaps the most salient answer to Leck’s consternation on the issue of slavery versus the north’s seeming tolerance of the brutality of the native Americans and its centuries old lifestyle came in a remark from his earnest while friend and neighbor, Gabe Russell who very often waxed eloquently on issues of morale character. It was Gabe’s theory that the Northerners were more consolatory toward the position of the African for two basic reasons: first and foremost, the northerner had accepted the widely discussed concept that the white man had evolved from the monkey as a genetic malfunction, the mutating offspring manifesting itself over millions of years as an African.

“In short, Leck.” Russell intoned in the most scholarly manner possible, “The European believes that he is a descendant of the ape through the African.”




“Does that mean that the Indian is a descendant of the African?” Leck asked

“Or is the African a descendant of the Indian who got hold of that monkey and used it to relief?” Leck laughed.

“Or, testing the God theory...we must all be descended from the Jew...because they are the chosen a Jew got hold of the monkey and performed the old dirty bogey, who begat the Indian, the 

African, the Chinese, the European and every mother’s son and daughter!” Gabe laughed and punched at Leck.

“Come on Gabe...where were you when Sister Mary Iona explained that God created all the creatures of the earth...and then he created man in his own image?” Leck asked.

“Your brain is dead Leck if you believe that bit of hogwash...just as you still believe that it is a mortal sin to wiggle yourself or look up the petticoat of Sally’s ok to accept the goodness of religion but this whole thing of one God in being with the spirit is nauseous.” Russell had said.

“I don’t have to look up the petticoat of Sally know it all, I see my sisters bathing every Saturday...and that reminds me, the knothole you have used to watch has been discovered and repaired.” Leck laughed.

“I believe the second reason that the north favors the African is the fact that the northern families came to this country, seeking freedom from oppression in their homeland. They were willing to provide the major source of men, money and equipment to defeat King George and win the independence for the Colonials. The victory over the world’s greatest power at the time has contributed to the belief that they in effect won the rights to all the marbles...including the land occupied by the Indians for hunting, fishing or erection...of Tepees.” Russell said.

“As the story goes the Colonials came here landing at Plymouth...they had very little...they knew nothing...were dismal failures at farming and had it not been for the Indian teaching them how to plant, grow and harvest they would have perished.” In gratitude...they see to the needless killing of millions of buffalo essential to the lifestyle of the Indian family, they change the natural habitat of various other species from which they feed their families in the winter and they send their war machines against rocks killing several hundred thousand men, women and children all over this country.” Leck said in a tone that was approaching anger.

“Leck, that is the nature of man since the beginning of time...they have always been warring and to the victor goes the it or not.” Russell said.


“Maybe so...but I don’t want to hear any pious and contrite breast pounding about the abuse of the African by the Southerners. Leck injected. 

“Well, let’s not leave them out of the picture...who do you think the Southerner stepped on to carve out those plantations and holdings of five thousand our neighborhood Leck?” Russell said.

“It is true...but the Southerner lets you know up front they are coming for you, not some coy backstabbing double talk.” Leck said.




But even as Leck pondered these issues with his family in Kentucky, his best friend Gabe Russell and his Calvary comrades, no one knew the twist of fate, which had placed the young Kentuckian in the eye of conflict and history as it was happening.




After Russell’s ill-fated wound and release from the military, Lenahan continued his tour of duty serving in the west at Fort Laramie at the junction of the Laramie and the North Platte Rivers under the commands of General Stephen Kearney and special assignment to General John C. Fremont, a candidate for President in the elections of 1856. Fremont was handsome... with an aristocratic air, demanding a personal guard and escort of thirty Kentuckians no less than six feet tall or older than twenty.

This guard was specifically trained in the more gentile methods by lesser European nobility surrounding the General with the pomp of a king or president, befitting Fremont, born in 1818 at Savannah, Georgia...educated and refined... considered himself a gentleman of destination and certain to assume the Presidency of the Union or other fanciful post in the future. He wanted no one with access to him to be less desirable. Lenahan was selected because of his size, youth and because the Generals special secretary knew of Lenahan does Kentucky heritage...know as well, that he would be trainable in the mode of Fremont’s choice.



Lenahan excelled and became a close confident of Fremont’s western campaign and under the tutelage of the Fremont operatives, Lenahan was groomed for special service involving inside covert activities providing communication expertise to keep the military informed of political and social discord of any kind from sources he knew to be unimpeachable. 

In 1856, an incident occurred which Fremont regretted, in-as-much-as, it occurred in eastern Kansas while under his command and protection. Just before midnight of May 24 the James Doyle family received surprise visitors at their remote farm. The knock on the door was loud and persistent...Doyle rushed to answer the door while rousing his family. He opened the visual trap door and saw his neighbor from Osawatomie on horseback. He made the judgmental error to open the door.

“James Doyle...I am John Brown... the Angle of the Lord...come for penance and retribution for your sinful degradation against fellow human beings.” Brown shouted while sitting erect in his saddle and pointing his long arm and willowy yellow stained finger with equally long fingernails at Doyle.

Five other horsemen backed up Brown, two of them with flaming torches, tried to soothe their mounts, pranced and nickered at the fire and the frenzy. The flames cast a strange glow across the countenance of John Brown, wiry, stiff short gray hair which stood about the head as unreasonable as was the root of its existence, bony faced and gaunt frame. His voice had a deep and religious tone that went to the very marrow of Doyle, who was stricken with fear by Brown’s very sight, frozen so that Doyle could not be pulled into the house by his son’s who labored to extricate him from the evil that lurked in the darkness, now illuminated by torches waved by horsemen outside the door.

“Hell hath no fury or even a space for a slaver of your disgusting reputation Mr. have been previously warned to amend your despicable mistreatment of human kind.” Brown continued to rant in an almost demonic cadence. “But you have refused to recant or to cease the demonic occupation of the body, the heart and spirit of the slaves you oppress.”

“Vengeance is mine seethe the Lord...his messenger has arrived for your sins and the brutal canning of one of his precious children whose name I leave for you to remember and pray over the spirit of Charles Sumner, his servant, will surely be in heaven one day.” Brown swore loudly.

No sooner than he had completed the chastising, Brown rode up on the porch and slashed out at Doyle with a saber slashing his neck and head as his two sons, continued their effort, to pull their father into the safety of the house.

Doyle could not speak but finally screamed the name of his wife... “Mahala!” 

His wife hearing him... screamed out in a woeful and chilling manner.

Ropes were thrown over the sons of James Doyle and they were drug into the barnyard and butchered by the marauding abolitionist. Two innocent young men, no more or less guilty as any slave...punished for the sins of the father over whom they had no recourse. Born in the wrong era, to the wrong parents...cut down before they could carve out a philosophy or pass on the genetic makeup predisposed to carry on the rage, the hatred from generation to generation.

The law was unable to apprehend Brown or to stop the clandestine assassinations of those flowing into the Kansas prairie who were vociferous in their support of slavery, certain to form a majority in Kansas as a Slave State under the provisions of the Kansas-Nebraska Act to the chagrin of the Abolitionist who knew they could not kill all the Pro slavers...that would take an army, of the size which only the federals could and would muster in 1861.

Fremont did not condone the use of slavery. He was adamantly opposed to its spread throughout the west seeing what it had done in the south. But at the same time he was a man who believed in the rule of law and the orderly procedures for addressing issues framed on either side. He was contrite over the loss of life experienced by the Doyle family, by Charles Sumner and hundreds of slaves whose names and faces went unnoticed as history played out their dilemma and Fremont’s role in it.

He swore to get John Brown and bring him to justice and Electus Dominus Lenahan would be the man who would deliver the information necessary to bring him down. This would be no easy matter. Communication was difficult, though improving and there were several trails, which had been recently forged making it plausible for an inventive man like John Brown to elude and evade justice, difficult but nonetheless, passable by men on the move, regardless of motivation or intention.




The army had its handful with the Indians, even though certain treaties had 49 been negotiated for the safe passage of settlers and prospectors. They were often angered by settlers moving through stopping to hunt, fish and rest...and a growing number... putting down roots on hallowed grounds, with centuries old hunting, fishing and other natural resources which the nomadic Sioux, Apache, Cherokee, Ute, Comanche’s, Pawnees, Kiowa and the Arapahos depended upon. 

The discovery of Gold in California in 1848 had brought a crush of wealth seekers over one of the major trails. The Oregon Trail north of Larimer County, ran westward through Wyoming to Oregon, California and Utah.

A Mormon battalion on its way to Salt Lake City enters the mountains west of La Porte bringing with them an unorthodox religious belief of the polygamist (one man with several wives) causing problems for the army which could not have been imagined on the Western Plains, requiring manpower continuing to diminish the small army’s strength.

Another route was forged by the Cherokee Indians in conjunction with an Anglo-American named William Russell, blazed a trail which started in Pueblo went to Fort S. Vrain on the South Platte, crossed the South Platte at the mouth of the Cache La Poudre and subsequently entered the mountains and headed for the Laramie Plains and westward to California, became known as The Cherokee Trail.

William Russell was a miner and geologist by trade. He had left his family in Pittsburgh consisting of a wife and two small children, while he attempted to quench the wanderlust and Gold fever. He had successfully organized a trip to California utilizing a pact with the Cherokee as guides across the Rockies, through the plains and into California, but returned empty handed. While attempting to organize a second expedition to California he began prospecting along The Cherokee Trail at Ralston Creek. Whereupon he made his first strike causing him to rethink his need to go to California. The news of this strike was leaked bringing forth an influx of goldpanning prospectors, many of whom had been to California and come home empty handed as well.

By then Russell had moved on making similar finds in what became known as Russell Gulch and Clear Creek. Russell was beside himself with the fever and the realization of his dream. After mining for several months he was persuaded by conscience to pack up and return to Pittsburgh for visits with his wife and two growing daughters, Marianna and Rebecca...nieces of Ima Longing Russell.



Although Mrs. Russell was from a wealthy Pittsburgh family in the printing and publishing business, and the family wanted him to learn the trade, Russell would have none of it. He was a miner and geologist; he had told her of his quest prior to marriage... his business was in Colorado. She deferred to his plans for the future of their family.

They finally agreed to let the girls remain in school in Pittsburgh while living with the maternal grandmother.

The Russell’s would make the 

return trip to Colorado and the two girls would come west for the summer. An event neither of the children could imagine nor anticipate the changes, which would occur in their young lives.


                        ****Historical Review****


Contrary to the avowed promise of his Secretary of War, William Seward...President Lincoln sent notice to the commander of Fort Sumter and to the governor of South Carolina that he would re-supply the fort at the request of its commander Major Robert Anderson.

Anderson was under siege, surrounded by the Confederates under the command of his former student at West Point, Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, second in his class where he studied artillery now had the cannons directed at his teacher and was intent on demonstrating that he had learned his lesson well.

Major Anderson had previously abandoned, with the tacit neglect of any direction from President Buchanan, two other United States military installations in Charlestown harbor...Fort’s Moultrie and Castle Pinckney. Beauregard delivered his ultimatum to abandon Fort Sumter, through an emissary, Colonel James Chestnut, Jr., a former U.S. Senator.

“Gentlemen, if you do not batter the fort down around us, we shall all be starved in a few days.” Anderson responded.

“State the date by which you will abandon the fort under truce?” Colonel Chestnut demanded.

“Baring other instructions or the arrival of additional supplies, I shall abandon on April 15th.” Anderson said.

“Regrettably sir, we are unable to permit you to wait for supplies, munitions and additional must abandon now.” Chestnut is reported to have said to Anderson, and he continued.

“If we never meet in this world again Major...I hope that we may meet in the next.”

At 4:30 A.M. on April 12-three days before the Anderson request to abandon, a single mortar was was the signal, by Captain George S. James for the forty-three Confederate guns around Fort Sumter to fire four thousand shells...the first of which coming from Edmund Ruffin.

During the next day’s evacuation, Anderson ordered a cannon salute to the flag. One gun exploded; killing Private’s Daniel Hough and Edward Galloway...the first causalities of the Civil War were by accident.

Over the last several decades, many historians have held that Lincoln’s refusal to see his old friend Alexander Stephens who had come secretly on the orders of Jefferson Davis to meet with the Secretary of War Seward at the White House to try to work out a peaceful compromise and Lincoln’s refusal to accept Seward’s word on the issue of Fort Sumter and Lincoln’s

decision to re-supply the fort upon notice to the 

Governor, constituted a breach of good faith in the negotiating process and the deliberate attempt by Lincoln to provoke the Confederates into firing the first shots in order to garner world opinion, especially the English, on the side of the Union.

By his act and the acts of omission by his predecessor, Lincoln not only forced the hand of the Confederacy but his call for volunteers prompted the secession of four more southern states: Arkansas; North Carolina; Tennessee and Virginia.

Head of the Union forces at that time, seventy-five year old General Winfield Scott immediately upon notice that his commander-in-chief had taken this event to the Congress as a declaration of insurrection, put forth his strategic military plan...even-though his counsel to the President on the evacuation of Fort Sumter had been viewed by many of Lincoln’s Republican friends as a reason to question this old Virginian’s loyalty. His plan later derisively called “The Anaconda Plan,” was sent to Lincoln’s friend General George McClellan. It called for a blockade of the Atlantic and Gulf ports and in connection with the blockade a military movement down the Mississippi River to the ocean. This methodology so designed to cordon the seaboard, envelope the insurgent states through the cessation of commerce resulting in surrender of the Confederacy with a minimal bloodshed.

George McClellan was a conniving man, he leaked the plan to the press as he had taken credit for at least one battle in which he had minimal participation (The Battle of Rich Mountain). McClellan was thirty-five years old and thought the plan and the old man were out of step. He wanted something more grand and Napoleonic. But despite the undermining, Scott’s plan by any other name, the blockade of the southern ports and the control of the Mississippi by U.S. Grant who was to replace George McClellan who was a detractor of Grant at West Point, provided the ultimate basis for the economic and military defeat of the Confederacy.

Of course McClellan also knew ostensibly through either his friend Allen Pinkerton or directly from the President that General Scott had recommended fellow Virginian Robert E. Lee to lead the armies of the north. On April 18, 1861, Lee met with power broker, Frank Blair, Sr. who unofficially offered Lee the command.



Born on January 19, 1807, in Stratford Hall, a plantation on the banks of the Potomac River in Virginia, Robert E. Lee descended from the line of Virginia Lees that had been among the countries most influential families. It was clear that he had the credentials and bloodlines to lead the nation’s military. One of his ancestors, Richard Henry Lee, issued the motion calling for independence at the Continental Congress in 1776. Another, Francis Lightfoot Lee, had signed the Declaration of Independence. Robert E. Lee’s father, Major General Henry “Lighthorse Harry” Lee had been one of General George Washington’s most accomplished cavalry officers and trusted aide. The man eulogized Washington as “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” He also served as Virginia’s governor and U. S. Congressman. A great soldier and apt politician, Henry Lee was like Grant and Lincoln...terrible businessmen but he was loyal to his friends in need and while helping a friend defend his printing presses against an angry mob, he was stabbed 

and left for dead. Broke, disfigured and crippled, Henry Lee was sent to Barbados by President James Monroe.

Forced from the family home, Robert E. Lee lived with his mother’s family until he went to West Point, emerging second in his class. He later married Mary Anna Randolph Custis, a granddaughter of Martha Custis Washington, the wife of the first president, whose son by her first husband was adopted by Washington.

After Virginia seceded from the Union, Lee was torn between duty and home. Declining Lincoln’s offer of command, Lee resigned his commission. In many ways Lee was like Lincoln in that he was a man of contradiction. He was personally opposed to slavery, even-though he was a part of the plantation aristocracy, he supported the preservation of the Union. But his deepest loyalty was to his native Virginia, his legacy, and love of his family. To Lee and others like him, unlike Lincoln... state meant more than country. Later, Lincoln admitted that this was a quality he could not understand...while professing loyalty to the Union, Lee broke his oath for the Confederacy, for which he would pay dearly.

Two days after Lee resigned, Arlington House, the Custis family residence overlooking the Potomac was occupied by Union forces and General Irvin McDowell took the mansion as his headquarters and the estate was confiscated. In 1864 two hundred acres around Arlington House were set-aside as a military cemetery for the Union dead...later, Lee’s son received $150,000 as retribution for the taking of the property and it eventually became Arlington National Cemetery.



                     A LIFETIME OF LOVING






Jess... Lenahan’s sway backed horse stood in the corner of the stall eyeing Lenahan in an evil fashion. He had heard the wind and felt it at his withers and now knew that the sight of Lenahan meant he was going to have to leave the comfort of the barn...before he had his cooked oats with a little black strap molasses. Lenahan picked up the bridle, saddle and blanket putting an end to old Jess’s daydream of spending another leisurely day in the barn munching around in the hay while looking forward to a ration of cooked oats. Lenahan took the blanket with one hand, placing it on the sway back, next he threw a thick pad on the sway back horse then the stock saddle on the blanket...Jess farted to demonstrate his disgust with the day’s activities, and looked around at Lenahan who said nothing in response to his ill mannered horse. He had heard it get to know a lot about a person... or a horse out on the trail. One thing Lenahan knew about old Jess...his farts smelled like shit!

“Well at least it’s not raining, sleeting or snowing.” Leck said to Jess as though that should offer some sense of relief, as did the carrot for leaving the barn.

Lenahan continued the saddling process; he slid his rifle into the holster along the ribs of the saddle, hung his canteen on the saddle horn, checked his revolvers attached to each side of the saddle, tied his saddle bags containing a few eats for the meals he was sure to miss and then inserted his army issue blanket into the rawhide loops on the back of the saddle.


He pulled his very worn mink flop hat over his eyes, buttoned his travel worn army issue greatcoat buttons and stepped through the barn door with Jess in tow to a light snow mist. So much for the dry morning Lenahan thought as he stepped into the left stirrup and swung his long right leg over the hip of Jess and slipped his boot into the right stirrup. Jess felt the full 185 pounds with the extras and took a deep breath... when he exhaled through 

the bit of the bridle, he farted several times while walking off toward the road. If Jess could only talk, Lenahan would be in for a mouth full.

Each of us has mannerisms which demonstrate our discontent, little personal traits setting us apart from those we are intending to impress. Jess had his as well.

“Let it go Jess, I don’t blame you old fellow...sometimes life is just the shits.”




Lenahan leaned in to the wind with his right shoulder. It was quite along the road, really quite beautiful Lenahan thought in a strange sort of way. He rode north toward the small town of St Mary’s where the Russell farm was located. He hoped the snow would cease by the time he got to the Russell’s place... or hell it may not. Early spring weather in Kentucky could be as ornery as old Jess in the morning.

By horse, you could cover the distance from Raywick to St. Mary’s in less than an hour. This morning it was slightly over an hour because the wind and the snow had picked up. As Lenahan topped the hill to the Russell place his heart leaped at the sight of dark smoke coming from the barn area. My God Lenahan thought, some bodies gotten careless with the hay and Gabe’s got himself a real serious problem. There was no need to cluck to Jess... his trusted horse had instinctively picked up their speed making their way into the barnyard in a matter of minutes.

“Something very strange here Jess” Lenahan said to the horse as Rags, the Russell dog howled away at Lenahan from the farmhouse porch.

“Rags.” Lenahan yelled, but the dog continued his wailing.

“Fire, Fire” Lenahan yelled at the top of his lungs to no one in particular as Jess pranced and nickered his displeasure with the smoke and heat rising from the barn area. Leck dismounted, and ran into the barn. He was alarmed that there was no response to his call from either of the Russell’s. 56

Better get the stock out of the barn Lenahan thought...he moved swiftly and began to open the stall doors and pens to the relief of the frightened animals. Lenahan noted that the fire seemed to be contained at the back of the barn in a stack of loose hay and stall bedding...he ran toward the water pump catching a bucket along the way. At the pump he froze...there hanging partially in the trough was his friend Gabe Russell. 

“Gabe, Gabe.” Lenahan pulled his friend to the ground and in doing so he saw the pool of blood in the water and the large wound in the head of his friend. Gabe Russell was dead, gunshot to the head.

Lenahan’s thoughts quickly ran to Russell’s wife Ima...dear God he thought what is going on here? Lenahan ran as fast as his legs would carry him into the farmhouse. Ima lay propped against the fireplace hearth with Gabe’s Kentucky Long Rifle pointed at the door...she had heard the call from Lenahan and his sight now released the fear and anguish and for the first time she felt the excruciating pain from her wounds.

“Holy Jesus Ima, let me help you.” Lenahan called as he ran to help the wounded woman but Rags moved between them...although he knew Lenahan... he knew as well that his beloved master was in trouble...he bared his sharp and viciously looking canines. His eyes narrowed, taking on a mystical glare, which dissipated immediately at the touch of Ima’s hand.

“There, there my precious know our dear friend Leck.” She said to the dog, which backed away and lay beside her.

“Oh Leck...they came this morning early...four men, asking Gabe to let them rest their horses in the barn from the weather...Gabe, my darling Gabe” the woman called out through her sobbing.

Lenahan held her tightly to his chest. “Ima, they have killed Gabe.” he said emotionally through a tightened throat. “Gabe is gone Ima...dear God I am so very sorry.” Lenahan said through the tears.

Rags sat on his hind end at Ima’s back...he looked into Lenahan’s eyes which were flooded with tears, the dog cried and whimpered in a most pitiful manner as he licked Lenahan’s hand...they had connected. Lenahan saw the dog’s grief and rubbed his large mongrel head. Lenahan remembered how Russell revered this dog, which had saved his life and had become an inseparable part of the lives of the Russell’s.



“Leck, I know how close the two of you have been...I am so sorry for you as well...but we must be strong now, I feel we have so little time” she coughed in sever pain...blood appeared at the corner of her mouth. “Leck I have been gut chance for me...but I must ask you for a promise” she said grabbing Lenahan’s arm.

“We’re going to get you to the doc in St. Mary’s...don’t be talking now’ve got to save your energy...” Lenahan said 

“Leck I’m begging you to listen to me...I know I’m not going to make it and its just as well, that I’ll be going on to be with my husband...but Leck I can’t go without getting a promise from you to take care of something very special to Gabe and me.” She was looking into Leck’s eyes.

“Ima you know that I would move heaven and hell for you and Gabe...just give me the descriptions of the men who did this terrible thing to you’ll...”

“Four big guy, I saw him on a sorrel horse with a black eye patch...but Leck, enough of that... I have to get this out, please, please listen to me. I had a brother in Colorado. He and his wife died two years ago of cholera. They had two girls who went to live with my sister-in-law’s mother in Pittsburgh...she died last month and those girls are on their way to Bardstown in the next day or so...we have just received a letter from them...

Now Leck, they have no one in this world...I know you are a single man and this would be a major job for you...but Leck...Leck, could you gather them up for me and see to them until you can figure out get them back to school in Pittsburgh...maybe with the church..” she entreated.

“Please Ima, don’t you worry one spec about them girls...I will see to them...Mama’s got an empty house nearly...they will have a safe place with my folks.” He assured her.

“Thank God...Leck Lenahan you are the very best friend in the world and I know one day some lucky woman will come along for you...and love you as I have loved my Gabe”

“Gabe was a lucky man, Ima... and you’ll deserve each other.”

“Listen Leck, under the pot belly stove, there is a loose board. Beneath that board there is a small metal box. Please get it out now...hurry Leck.” She said as she began to cough in a raging manner.



Lenahan moved toward the stove, which stood on small legs, he took the iron poker and felt the floor beneath the stove, finding the 58 loose board he moved it with ease discovering the metal box, which he removed and took back to Ima.

“Open the box Leck” she said. 

Inside the box there were several letters tied neatly with a ribbon. There were many small canvass bags filled with gold dust, and a yellowing tattered map attached to a Claim Slip.

“Leck that map belonged to my brother...he was a miner...discovered this vein of gold at Russell’s Gulch, Colorado...he passed the claim and these bags of gold dust to me for his girls...and I want to pass it to you for them...please Leck get me a pen and ink”.

As Leck searched for the pen and ink, he thought of all the pain Ima had suffered, losing her first husband and two children in a senseless massacre by the Cheyenne...he wandered why she had stayed on in that brutal environment and those daily reminders of cherished loss and then destiny intervened as Gabe had related to him in the aftermath.




The wound wasn’t so bad, lying on the slope of the river bank near the road, Gabe Russell tugged at the belt he had tied just above his knee to stop the profuse bleeding. The Minnie’ ball had shattered his knee and was lodged at the bend of the knee in the back of his leg. Russell could feel it and remembered warnings of his unit buddies...the veterans said it was best to get the ball out as quickly as possible. A ball left in the body on a gut shot meant automatic death. He took his knife...feeling along the edge of the ball...he inserted the knife’s tip into the skin. Remarkably there wasn’t much pain...the area was numb from the gun shot. Russell continued to slice freeing the Minnie’ ball...his hands and the wound ran red with blood. He felt weak and faint from the sight of it and crawled to the water...plunging his head into the water before he passed out. He washed the wound and tied it up with a scarf...then he passed out.

He was dreaming...the wound wasn’t so bad at all he told his mother. god damn sneaking glory in being bush whacked...why I couldn’t have gotten it with bugles blaring. 



No daddy I wasn’t charging the Injuns. Some dirty son-of-a-bitch shot me from ambush. Some dirty stinking redskin bastard shot my knee and I never got to return fire...I never saw his filthy eyes.

Russell awoke...the knee was on fire and hurting like hell...he started to cry...Oh dear Jesus, everybody has left me. I’ll die here in this stinking me Lord, I’m too young to die...but then he realized there was nothing he could do about it. He tried to remember some of the things he had heard in church...boring stuff mostly, why I didn’t listen he thought. Maybe there is more to dying and all those prospective places the priest 

had spoken of: Purgatory...the waiting place, and the demons, Heaven...where no one works and there is peach ice cream all year round! I’m sure to go there...I’ve never done anything except shoot a few Injuns and abuse my privates.

Then the darkness started to fill in around him...he passed out again. When he gained consciousness again he glanced at the moon and heard the sound of coyotes...nearby he thought...dear God...if they catch my scent, the blood. The knee was hurting like hell; Russell eased himself into the river. The water he thought would take away the odor to surely draw the coyotes and perhaps it will help with the pain. Nobody coming to look for me...he knew he’d have to save himself...he’d go with the flow as far as it would take him...maybe by morning he could find a camp even a settlement.

Thank God for this here river he thought...sure hope it don’t go dry or run into the rapids or a waterfall. Then he heard talking just ahead...there at a slight bend in the river...he could see the glow of the campfire and smell the smoke...He knew that he was very hungry and wondered if this wasn’t a good sign that he wasn’t going to die. The water seemed to run a little more swiftly and it seemed to be getting colder. That means it’s pretty deep here he thought.

He had every hope that the voices would be friendly settlers. He had been holding on to a large branch floating down the river...good fortune, he was able to lay his rifle on it...maybe its still dry...hell no...No chance of that but he had his knife.

The voices were clearer now...Injuns he thought. He heard moaning and cries. Probably the Cheyenne that attacked the settlers and the Calvary detail, clearly in defiance of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 providing for safe conveyance of settlers along the Oregon Trail. Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse had refused to sign the treaty and now roamed the area striking, killing, raping the white eyes. The Indians must be here to rest with the wounded. Russell kicked softly with his good leg out into the river remaining low to the branch, careful to avoid any sighting by the savages.



Any sound and they will get me, he thought. I’d rather drown than die at the hands of the Cheyenne. The Cheyenne was a most hostile bunch of redskins, who had a deep-seated hatred for the whites, and broken treaties of the past. Gabe had seen and heard of the Indian method for dealing with captives. Cruel savages utilizing the most outrageous forms of mutilation before you die. Cutting off body parts and feed them to their cur dogs. Burying a person up to the neck and leaving them to bleed to death or die from exposure. They won’t get another shot at me he thought. This river is a better savior and pathway to heaven...just take a deep breath and sinks to 

the bottom let out the air and takes in a gulp of water. You’d be dead before you reached the top...only seconds and little misery.

The movement of the water picked up...there seemed to be a droning hum below grew louder and then his worst fears were realized. He was being sucked into the draft of a waterfall. He was sick, tired and knew that he was now too far into it to escape...just try to get away from this limb...maybe he could free fall and hit on his ass... “Nooooo, he screamed as he was swallowed by the roaring convergence between the huge boulders and the cliffs up either side of the river and thrust down through the churning froth into the river below.

Morning came and Russell found himself entwined and a part of brush that had washed up on the bank of a small sand bar in the middle of the river. Dear God he thought...this can’t be heaven, I’m freezing and my entire body is hurting as though someone has beaten me with a battering ram. Then he remembered the falls, the terrifying free fall that he would have loved at twelve years of age... and then he heard something magic...a whistle, perhaps a bird of the west that he had never before seen or heard...another of the wonderful discoveries of the west... but this whistle had a human face. He looked out from the sandbar...there it was near the riverbank...a woman. She whistled again and called out to her dog... “Come here Rags...that’s my good boy.”

“Thank you sweet Jesus.” Russell said as he cleared himself from the bank and began to peddle against the most outrageous pain he had ever felt. Not just the knee, but his entire body and most especially his right hip. He was no more than 100 feet from the bank when he started to shout. The water was swift, only a few moments before it would sweep past her and any hope for him to be saved. “Please help, help!” Russell shouted again and again.

No proclivity to withdraw into the illusion and the myth, wholly propagated by the fairer sex of a man unwilling to ask for help.




He could see that the woman had heard him...he began to thrash in the water...went under taking water in gulps...he recovered now only twenty feet from the bank coming up quickly. He could see the woman dropping her dress and petty coats and calling to the dog pointing to the river...she jumped in as well as the dog. In what seemed an eternity the dog reached Russell. The dog’s mongrel face and head reached out to Russell...he remembered the fear of the coyotes, and getting into the river for protection against them...but the big dog with the fearsome head licked him. 

The woman was there next to him...she had his arm, calling the dog she placed Russell’s sleeve in the dog’s mouth.

“Go Rags...she commanded.” As she dog peddled with all the strength of his large body, the woman remained next to Russell holding him afloat while pushing him toward the riverbank. “Good boy Rags...atta boy Rags.” She urged the dog to the shore.

Thank God Russell thought...big dog...with his angel.

“I’m badly hurt ma’am!” was all Russell was able to get out before he gave way to the pain...his body knew that he was unable to stand it so it had shut him down.

Miracle of miracles the woman and the dog, Rags, tugged and pulled getting Russell to the riverbank, and then up onto the ground. Fortunate that Russell wasn’t a big man or they no doubt would have failed...and perhaps in the effort lost their lives as well.

He was soaked, he was bone cold and it was obvious that he had a severe knee wound at the least. Gunshot she knew as she cut away the trouser leg then removed the flimsy wrapping...she could see the infection along with several leaches which had attached themselves to the wound area. No doubt these critters saved his life she thought...along with the moving water.

First, she would have to get him out of the soaked uniform and into something dry and warm. She decided that she could not risk a fire in fear of a return visit by the Cheyenne. The warmth of the dry clothing, the blankets...her own warmth and that of the big dog Rags would have to be enough.

It had been two days since the Indians had attacked the settlers being escorted by the Calvary unit. She had remembered seeing this man alongside others who had fought valiantly when the Cheyenne ambushed from the trees along the river. She had watched in anger and horror as the settlers, soldiers and her family were killed one by one...out there in the fish in a barrel.




They had sent flaming arrows into the canvass top of the family wagon after first shooting and killing her husband...and then the two girls jumped from the wagon trying to escape the flames and the heat.

She could remember vividly the Indians jumping on the team of horses, trying to release the wagon tongue...she searched for her children with her eyes, and then instinctively somehow shot both Indians. The horses had 

run off in the frantic battle trying to avoid the noise from the guns and the fire and smoke from burning wagon tarpaulins.

During this period she had slammed her head against the wagon and was knocked unconscious. When she awoke...the wagon was setting here by the river. Smoldering from the fire but intact. She did not know how far the horses had run until they nearly ran into the river, nor did she know how long she had laid unconscious but it was dark and she calculated by the location of the moon that it had been some ten hours since the attack.

Now, twenty-four hours later, she continued to weep, moan, and rock and pray for her children. She was certain that her husband had been mortally wounded...she had seen him as he was shot and watched helplessly as he fell between the traces of the team of horses. Why had she not jumped from the wagon with the girls she continued to ask herself...and then she remembered in a split second she had become entangled...her dress, somehow caught in the teeth of the hand brake. She had struggled and finally got the petticoat lining released as the Indians jumped the horses. Phil’s rifle lay on the seat...dropped there when he was shot...she remembered the much blood on the Stanley repeater...the gun he was so proud of and valued as a prize possession. The gun she remembered that he had said would tame the west.

Were it not for Rags and now this heroic young soldier diverting her mind from the thought of the loss of her children she surely would have used the gun to tame her personal torment over the tragic loss of her darling...her precious...her beautiful daughters.

Russell stirred in the back of the wagon, once again speaking out loudly... inaudible remarks...the fever had raged in him now for the third day. Somehow she had been able to get his clothes exchanged with those of her deceased husbands and had managed to get him into the wagon. She was terrified at moving him but she also knew that if she did not get him to a doctor he would surely die from the wound and the infection.




She had been driving the team for hours and seemed confident that she had made steady progress and surely was nearing the Kansas border.

“Whoa boys...whoa now...she called out to the horses as she leaned back in the wagon seat pulling the reigns with her. The six-horse team yielded, welcoming the opportunity to rest. Rags jumped from the seat and ran barking at the lead pair as if to say... “Don’t you hear my lady calling to you...don’t you know to stop.” And, now, they had indeed.

She climbed into the bed of the wagon...sat at Russell’s head. She cooled it with a wet towel and tried to force some water between his swollen and cracked lips. The fever did not seem any worse but certainly no better. As 

She stroked his brow she said ...don’t worry Phil...I mean sir; whoever you are...we have come too far to have you die now.”

Russell knew there was a world out there. The life of any individual is so complete with its own set of peculiar problems and ever changing events that life can proceed in directions completely unrelated to the flow of historical circumstances. Had it not have been for the sneak attack and the miniball...Russell would have become an officer in the Confederacy...eyeball to against against brother...perhaps even facing the best friend he had ever known and commanded to kill, the order fulfilled, he might have also taken his own life as well.

But now he seemed to hear a soothing female voice...he didn’t believe that it was his mother’s but he could not be sure. He attempted to move but his entire body seemed to be suspended outside his mind. Gabe was unable to physically move any body part...nor, could he command his eyes to open. Was this Purgatory he wondered? The voice he kept hearing most certainly wasn’t it must be Heaven...and it must be God.

Rags began to bark...the horses nickered. Over a slight rise she could hear and then see the reason for the animals’ excitement. She quieted them as the wagon approached and then stopped nearby. Ima held the gun beneath the seat.

Two men sat in the wagon, a stoop-shouldered rider made his way to her side.

“Afternoon, Ma’am...look like you been in some trouble.” The man said.

She was cautious and held tight to the repeater. “Yes we have been attacked by a band of Indians. Where being escorted to the fort by a Calvary detail when they ambushed. I am afraid all have been killed, except the two of us. This soldier is dying, unless I can get him the medical attention that he needs. Bad gunshot to the knee.” She was so frightened that she sounded enthusiastic.



“Got a little backwoods doctoring experience?” One of the men on the wagon said.

“Want I should take a look at the soldier?” he asked.

“Thank you very much; I would be obliged for any assistance.” She said graciously. 

The man started down from the wagon seat. Rags barked and lunged at his boot.

“Rags!” she commanded, “Mind your manners.”

“Serious dog.” The man said as he climbed up onto the wagon and slipped down to the bed near Russell. She laid back the cover and the dressing on the gun shot knee.

“I fished him out of the river...don’t know how he survived...had all these leaches on his body...especially the knee.

“Ma’am, this leg got the gang green poison, already set in. It’s another two days to the settlement...I don’t believe he will make it. I am sorry but I think he is a goner.” The man said looking at her.

“We have come so far...he has fought so there nothing we can do.” She beseeched the stranger.

“Lady I don’t think there is a way in hell that he will make he is, take off that leg above the knee...maybe you stop the gang’s a crap shoot at best.” He said.

“Could you...would you I mean...have you ever had to do anything like remove a man’s leg.” She asked.

“Well no Ma’am...but I have seen it done and I have butchered many a buffalo.” He said with obvious pride as the other two men shook their heads, each taking turns spitting the tobacco chews they seemed to relish.

“Times a wastin’” she said.




                          ****Historical Review****


Lincoln was no military man, although he had served briefly in the Illinois state militia, it was the weakest of his interest. But what he lacked in the tactics of the military he more than made up in a clever mind and the utilization of the written word through the law.

From the White House, the Lincoln’s could see the campfires of the Confederates. Mary Todd was frightened for Lincoln and her family...Lincoln tried to console her with promises that troops were coming from the north to protect the Capitol and the residence at the White House. Privately, Lincoln stewed over the failure of the military under his predecessor, President Buchanan to provide appropriate military presence in the nation’s Capital.

His own experience in coming to Washington, disguised as an invalid... provided insight to the dangers that surrounded him. Maryland and particularly Baltimore provided the most turbulent and explosive threat to the safe transit and communication to the Capitol In order to circumvent the growing threat, Lincoln met with his Cabinet and announced that one of his first decisions would be the limited suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus along the rail lines between Washington and Philadelphia, especially targeting Baltimore.

The literal translation of the Latin Habeas Corpus is “{ that} you have the body.”; a Writ of Habeas Corpus is an order issued by a court of law for the release of an individual who is being held in custody. The law, an essential part of the Constitution, derived from the English law is designed to protect individuals from arbitrary imprisonment. It provides protection for everyone from being arrested without reasonable charges in the middle of the night.



It was and is one of the individuals protections of the law for its citizens that separates America from monarchies and other governments in which soldiers or police can literally knock on your door and drag you away to jail in your nightshirt without explanation.

With the suspension of habeas corpus, Lincoln authorized General Scott to make arrests without specific charges to prevent secessionist Marylander's from interfering with communications between Washington and the rest of the nation (some say it was instituted as well because Lincoln was under pressure from his old clients, the railroad industry). Additionally, Lincoln had vowed that the three remaining border states would not secede and to that end over the next few weeks, Baltimore’s Mayor William Brown, the police chief and nine members of the Maryland legislature were arrested to prevent them from voting to secede from the Union. Was Lincoln’s flagrant abuse of the law, to his own end, a confirmation of the other abuses for which the south had accused the government, without recourse for many years?






The answer may have been provided when an unknown, individual, John Merryman was arrested. Finally, Merryman’s attorney filed a petition, requesting the Writ of Habeas Corpus. The Chief Justice Roger Taney, a Marylander rendered his opinion. The author of the controversial opinion on the Dred Scott decision, Taney issued a writ of habeas corpus for Merryman, demanding that the authorities give a valid reason for his detention. The military refused, and Taney was concerned that Lincoln might have him arrested as well, issued an argument that only Congress could suspend and that Lincoln had broken the law.

Lincoln’s response to Taney came in a July address to the Congress by asking, “Whether all the laws, but one, (were) to go unexecuted, and the government itself to go to pieces, lest that one be violated?” Lincoln further argued that the Constitution further states that “the Privileges of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be

suspended, unless when, in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public safety may require it.”

Privately, Lincoln angrily exploded on the Chief Justice stating that he had intentionally backed Taney into a corner to challenge a demented legal mind that could have issued the Dred Scott opinion and that his own statement in defense of the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus begged the greater question...”If Taney was so concerned about the Constitution, why hadn’t he and the others done anything to prevent secession?”

The answer to that question ultimately leaked to Taney and it is reported that Taney stated “that the south did not secede on fear of imprisonment... but rather, due to the tyrannical government abuses influenced by the northern interest and unfair taxation to support a growing lust for industrial expansion. The Constitution provides no recourse for thoughtful declarations in the absence of sanity and good will towards all, by men elected to protect and defend the rights of all its citizens, equally.”



The Chief Justice had thrown a flaming ball at Lincoln and the Congress for the failure to effectively deal with the issues of the south over a period of years, as the abuses were occurring in the interest of the northern lobby.

Thirteen thousand Americans were arrested during the war years, nearly all of them were Democrats, giving rise to the charge, even by members of his own party, that Lincoln was a tyrant, as charged by Taney...acting more as a dictator than as the President of a Democracy.




On May 24, 1861, Ulysses S. Grant relegated to commanding a unit of Illinois volunteers applied for reinstatement into the regular army. A few weeks before, Robert E. Lee had made his fateful decision by resigning his commission in the army to serve his beloved Virginia...another soldier was trying desperately to get himself back into the army.

The two men, who had met briefly during the war with Mexico, couldn’t have been more different. Lee was courtly, patrician, southern gentleman while Grant, the son of a flinty, tough Ohio tanner and self-made businessman was seen as a crude, sullen drunk. A low grade laborer sort...Grant had been an abject failure at almost everything he tried, including his early army career, except when it came to making modern war.

Born in Ohio on April 27, 1822, the future general and president was the first child of Jesse Root Grant and Hannah Simpson Grant. The Grants named their son Hiram Ulysses and moved soon after his birth to Georgetown, Ohio where the boy spent the first sixteen years of his life. 

Jesse Grant, whose own father had been unable to support his children, had been apprenticed to a tradesman at the age of eleven, and a hard pioneer childhood had made him meanspirited as well as ambitious. Always disappointed with Ulysses, Jesse Grant never failed to let his son know that he showed so little potential. To escape his father’s belittling and the tanning business, Grant worked on the farm owned by his father.

After a year at a Kentucky boarding school, the seventeen-year old Grant was sent to West Point. When he arrived at “the Point,” Grant stood at five foot one and weighed 120 pounds. In a momentous twist of fate his name was changed forever. Grant discovered that he had been preregistered and his middle name Hiram had been changed for his mother’s maiden name of Simpson. Unable to correct the error, Grant took the new name as his own...which it really was.

If it hadn’t been for the Civil War, Grant might have been relegated to history’s dung heap. Though he had served in Mexico, his postwar army career in the depressing northwest frontier had been clouded by his resignation under a charge of drunkenness.

After that, his every business venture, every investment as a civilian, even a small farm, all failed. Grant was back working as a clerk in his father’s tannery in galena, Illinois...a humiliating personal defeat when the war broke out and rescued him. He immediately saw a return to service as the only road to his future.

Grant also tried the personal approach, going to the Cincinnati headquarters of George B. McClellan who had been named a general of the Ohio volunteers. McClellan had recollections of Grant’s reputation and of Grant being on a drinking spree when their paths crossed at Fort Vancouver in 1853. The general avoided an interview with Grant, and Grant settled for the command of a group of Illinois volunteers.

As in Lee’s first Civil War battle, Grant’s first encounter was also less than glorious. Early in the morning of November 7, 1861, some three thousand Union troops under Grant were transported by boat from their camp at Cairo, Illinois, and met the Confederate forces under the command of the inept General Gideon Pillow, one of Jefferson Davis’s worst political appointments. Though the Confederates fought stubbornly, they were pushed back to their camp at Belmont, Missouri on the banks of the Mississippi.

Grants troops were celebrating and looting the Confederate camp when they suddenly came under heavy fire from cannons on a high bluff across the river. These troops were commanded by General Leonidas Polk (1806-1864), another friend of Davis. A west Pointer, Polk had traded his sword for the robes of an Episcopal bishop but then returned to the Confederate army. Now he ferried twenty-seven hundred Confederate troops across the river and attacked Grant.

“General Grant...” and aide cried out in horror and surprise... “We are surrounded by the enemy.”

General Grant seated beside his command tent, took a cigar stub from his pocket and calmly lit it before responding to the young officer, “Well we must cut our way out as we cut our way in.”

Forced to leave behind his wounded and the captured Confederate materials from the “Pillow fight,” Grant was fortunate to escape with his command intact and his life. From his bluff position, General Polk could see Grant clearly at his encampment, and invited soldiers to “try your marksmanship on him if you please.” Fortunate for Grant and the Union he was out of range of the marksmen. Grant later called the action a “raid” and said he had won but his claim was disputed by Polk who called it a “battle” that he had clearly won with Grant and the Union in retreat.

Polk and the Confederacy, later realized the significance of the opportunity lost to eliminate a brilliant foe on that battlefield at Belmont, Missouri. As we shall see later, Grant will utilize the Anaconda Plan originated by the aging General Winfield Scott to move his troops systematically down the Mississippi, establishing security post along the way and cutting off the commerce of the south including the gunrunners. The fat old General with the Gout, whom all made fun of including the press and the President and the drunk... squeezing the life slowly from a Confederacy, locked resolutely in the ever tightening hold of the giant (Grant) boa.

This tactical error on the part of the Confederacy had been followed by perhaps the most glaring military error of the entire war...a mistake in judgment at the very top of the Jefferson Davis himself occurred on July 21, 1861 at the Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas). Pierre G.T. Beauregard, who had ordered and led the attack on Fort Sumter, took command of a Confederate army guarding a strategic train junction at Manassas, Virginia, about thirty miles southwest of Washington , D.C.. Being in short supply of forces, Beauregard issued a proclamation to the locals asking them to rouse to defend their state against the “reckless and unprincipled tyrant invading your soil.”

Beauregard’s troops were responsible for blocking the federal approach to the Confederate capital, which had been moved to Richmond, Virginia from Montgomery, Alabama when Virginia seceded. He was also ordered to hold the railroad junction at Manassas where Beauregard had deployed his troops along a small river called Bull Run.





Some fifty miles away, at the northern end of Virginia’s rich Shenandoah Valley, two more armies faced each other. The Union troops were under general Robert Patterson, and aging army veteran; the Confederates commanded by General Joseph E. Johnston (1807-1891). Patterson’s orders from Washington were to block Johnston so he could not slip south to Manassas to reinforce Beauregard.

Marching from Alexandria, Virginia on July 16, the Union army, commanded by fellow West Pointer General Irvin McDowell (1818-1885) began to move into Confederate territory. McDowell had problems as well...many of his men were three month volunteers with a rapidly approaching discharge date. To add to the problem

McDowell had been pressured to heed the Union press and politicians to take Richmond. With this strong political pressure behind him, McDowell, an aging hulk of a man who was said to eat a whole watermelon for dessert, was one of the few regular army commanders who had remained loyal to the Union...continued unabated without maps but with great pomp and circumstance into the greatest battle of the war.

The regimental band played “Dixie” as these green recruits marched in ragtag manner, they sung the tune that caused lumps to grow in the throats of their opponents...they had no idea what lay ahead except the glory of the Union and the victory that was soon to come.

Adding to the pomp and almost festive mood of the crowds of civilians and politicians from Washington accompanying the army in what Lincoln’s private secretary, John G. Nicolay would later describe as a “triumphal march.”





A Confederate observer said the procession included “gay women and strumpets” and said they carried picnic baskets, opera glasses, champagne and tickets that had been printed for a “grand ball in Richmond.”

McDowell ignored the fifty odd reporters and spectators. He was far more concerned about the undisciplined troops, who had no experience, were no familiar with the rigors of a forced march and had little or no experience of combat. The march had the air of a country outing as the soldiers broke ranks to pick berries and fill canteens their overconfidence was only bolstered when the first Confederate sentries retreated before their celebratory advance. But then came a brief exchange of fire between the Union troops and the Confederates under James K. Longstreet; like his fellow Confederates generals Johnston and Beauregard, Longstreet was still wearing his army uniform. At this first sign of a fight some of the Union soldiers began to have second thoughts. Volunteers nearing the end of their enlistment period quickly decided that this was a good time to request an early discharge.

McDowell’s army trudged along but at Centerville they were delayed for two days. General Johnston used the time to move about two thirds of his Confederates troops from the Shenandoah Valley to Bull Run by train, giving the armies almost equal strength. In so doing, he made military history: it was the first time that troops used the railroad for strategic mobility-one of many historic first of the Civil War.

On Sunday, July 21st the battle began in earnest. Initially the Union forces seemed justified in their confidence as the Confederates retreated. But among those troops fresh from the Shenandoah Valley was a brigade of Virginians commanded by Thomas J. Jackson (1824-1863). Born in western Virginia, Jackson was the son of a debt-ridden lawyer who died of typhoid when the boy was two-years old. When his mother died five years later, Thomas was separated from his brother and sister and raised by a bachelor uncle. With the equivalence of only a fourth grade education, he was admitted to West Point in 1842, rising steadily in the class rankings, he graduated in 1846, seventeenth in a class of fifty-nine.

Daring, calm and tactically brilliant that day at Manassas, General Barnard Bee told Jackson that he was being beaten back, but Jackson said that he would stop the Union advance with bayonets if necessary. What happened next belongs to Civil War mythology. Bee called out, “Oh men, there is Jackson and his Virginians, standing behind you like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer, follow me.”

Thus Bee supposedly gave Jackson his immortal nickname but Bee would not live beyond this day to ever again call out to one of the inspirations and hero’s that day...Stonewall Jackson and his 1st Virginia Brigade, the “Stonewall Brigade.”

At a moment when both armies were exhausted by the day’s fighting and the fate of the battle hung in the balance, fresh faces reinforced the thinning Confederate lines. Their arrival had an extraordinary effect. What first looked like a sure Union victory quickly turned into a massive route of the inexperienced Union volunteers, who wilted under the Confederate surge. Stonewall Jackson then issued the order. “Charge, men and yell like the furies...” The General 71 began to yell a fearful high shrill scream and his men began to emulate the man they so admired.

This was the Union soldiers’ first experience at hearing the blood-curdling “Rebel-Yell,” a shrieking, high-pitched scream that has entered Civil War folklore. First heard from the throat of the legendary Stonewall Jackson whose own natural voice was a high pitched eriesom shrill voice...nearly all woman...a voice Abraham Lincoln would have identified with... for he too had such a voice, but there is little doubt that the old log splitter would have used the Rebel Yell...but who knows for on that day at Manassas, the Yankees were marching to and singing Dixie.

As one Union newsman reported, “All sense of manhood seemed to be forgotten...even the sentiment of shame had gone...Every impediment to fight was cast aside. Rifles, bayonets, pistols, haversacks, cartridge-boxes, canteens, overcoats, parasols', champagne bottles, picnic baskets, and broken carriages lined the road.” Self-assured and confident three days earlier, the Union army turned back toward Washington in a riotous dash of soldiers, horses, and all those civilians and the northern press who had come to watch Johnny Reb get his ass whipped, now carried theirs back to the Capital.

A jubilant Jefferson Davis came over to the Manassas battlefield from Richmond, Stonewall Jackson asked him for ten thousand troops to follow the fleeing Union army right into Washington and end this war. But Davis ignored the request, not out of disrespect but in shame that the Confederacy lacked the funds to supply such an effort on behalf of its valiant fighting men.

The Confederate press turned on Davis as well, criticizing him for not pursuing the defeated Union army. His Secretary of War, Leroy Brown Walker resigned in disgust as the Confederate Secretary of War due to Davis’s failure to approve the request for the troops. But others were impressed by the stunning victory, the powers of Europe and the Lincoln administration believed the legitimacy of the Confederate

intent and their competency to win over; numbers, power, equipment, money and cause.

In the wake of the battle, Stonewall Jackson sent off an envelope to his pastor. Expecting a battle report, the preacher discovered a contribution for his church’s “colored Sunday school,” which Jackson had forgotten to send the day of the battle.


                                               I V


                               RAGS TO RICHES


(“With all my devotion to the Union and the

feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have therefore resigned my commission in the Army, and save in defense of my native State; I hope I may never be called upon to draw my sword.” General Robert E. Lee)

Lenahan stayed with Ima, sitting by the fire...he and Rags comforted the dying woman as she passed. Before she passed, she held Lenahan’s hand tightly...against the pain and as a token of her gratitude.

“I can go now’s duties are as neatly bound as those letters in the box. Strange, my own little girls, lost to the savages, may now be replaced by two orphaned nieces, whom I have never seen, and I must now entrust to you. 


It will not be a burden to you Leck... it will be a will see and I know you can sell this farm as well as those hides Gabe purchased... to help offset any cost. Remember Leck, these are not babies...they are near womanhood, twelve...thirteen years old I think.” She said.

“Ima, there is plenty of money here to take good care of those young girls, and you know with the large family I have there will be no shortage of women folk and love.”

Lenahan listened hoping that he could remember all she was telling him; so that he could properly relay this information to the girls...he would write it all down before he slept he thought.

Ima was still speaking...woman to the end he thought.

Like an old spicket, hell to open, impossible to stop. Scarp that he bastard, a man shouldn’t be thinking such thoughts at a time like this...probably sacrilegious...he’d stop at St. Joseph Proto Cathedral before he left Bardstown...say a novena, go to confession and pass along the news that these two wonderful Catholics had passed. He saw the vision of a headstone in the old cemetery...GABRIEL CALDWELL RUSSELL...BORN AUGUST 8, 1840...DIED APRIL 15, 1857. LOVING SON, HUSBAND, FRIEND AND HERO.

“Leck, today’s’ your birthday...isn’t it.” She asked “April 15...makes you seventeen and Gabe...well you know I robbed the cradle...he won’t be seventeen until August 8. Everybody says that I am a wicked woman for taking him...but after saving him from the river and the was as though he became mine...God’s own replacement for the consuming losses that I had experienced...and you know when you nurse a man back to health...there is a magnetic connection, regardless of the age difference. Nobody will know the feelings I had for him...I am ashamed to admit to you Leck that Gabe was like my father, my son and my once an enigma...who loved me and filled me.”

Nearly at the end, as the day began to sink on the other side of noon into the western horizon where two youngsters had gone to fight the Injuns in an aura of the hunter’s mist...Ima reached up and touched Leck’s bearded face...a man now...with all the accouterments...some 74 God given, others picked up along the way by guns, knives, and death, the discovery of emotions given only to experience. At fifteen they were invincible... at was dead and the other left to carry on the dream of the hunter’s mist, down in the valley were the grass is always green and the creek flows easily with trout big enough for young boys to catch and carry home proudly.

“Leck...” she whispered... “One more thing I want to give you today.” She took his hand and laid it on the head of Rags. “This is our spirit!”




Lenahan and Rags had sat there feeling the personal loss. After a time, he found a pick and shovel. He carefully wrapped Ima’s body in a sheet and he and Rags went out to the barn.

He went to the water trough, recovering Gabe’s body, he wrapped him in a sheet as well, and then, he brought the bodies into the barn. The fire in the hay had died away, but smoldered, beckoning to Leck as the most likely temporary grave for the Russell’s since the ground was frozen and too hard to dig.

Jess, Rags, a milk cow, two hogs, two other horses, seven chickens, a rooster, two barn cats, several spiders, mice and assorted wildlife 

comprised the funeral party, and looked on respectfully as Leck fixed a small cross on the site.

“Dear God...this is a moment I could never have imagined. I came here this morning to help my old friend, while I was on leave from my duties at the Fort. It was to be a joyful this is the very worst moment in my life...I am so lost...Lord I’ve been absent from you for a while...but help me to understand why I should ever come back to a belief that you are all you know what I’m feeling?”

Leck dropped his head for a moment, walked to his horse, leading him from the barn. Rags lay on the grave with his head toward the door. The other animals moved into the stalls... Lenahan began to close the big barn door from the night. He looked at the big dog.

Rags was Leck’s first ever inheritance. It felt somewhat strange...he did not know if he owned the dog or if an inheritance brought some privilege to the inherited source. 



Rags was, one of those “last minute “ details that Ima just had to solve. It appeared to Leck that Rag’s future was essential for Ima to die in peace.

He wished now in retrospect that he could have had more time with Ima to discuss the dog. Specifically, how she had acquired the dog and if she knew who had breed the dog’s mother?

Rags was not an ordinary dog. It was obvious to Leck and the local veterinarian that Rags was the product of a carefully orchestrate and select breeding. Some things they knew. Rags was five years old. He was a mix breed mating of a Great Dane and, an Airedale. Rags got his size from the Great Dane but he got all other genetic dispositions form the Airedale.

Although the vet said he had never seen the offspring of such a mating, he had read during attendance at veterinarian school that a dog like Rags was quite common in the middle ages. At that time this crossbreed belonged principally to noblemen. They were guard dogs for the estate and the family, capable of great bravery and heavy endurance.

Rags stood forty-two inches at the nape of the neck and weighed one hundred twenty-seven pounds. He was solid muscle. He had the massive head of the Great Dane but the symmetrical face of the Airedale, and Rags always had a bad hair day, wiry and going in every direction.

But that was the only thing bad about Rag’s life. There existed no kinder, more intelligent, more faithful, more obedient, more loving dog that Leck, or anyone else in the family or village had ever known or seen. Rags, was so big and gentle, that all the grandchildren of all ages rode him like a pony whenever they came for a visit. Rags would totally wear the children and the other two family dogs to a frazzle by days end.

Rags was dark/dark gray in color, had large black eyes that seemed to penetrate your soul. He had a big, wet black nose and a huge red tongue, which hung at the side of his mouth. He had major paws and the pads on them were extremely hard but supple to the touch. Rags came with Ima to the marriage with Gabe. Gabe told Leck that Rags had tried courageously to save Mrs. Russell’s two girls from the kidnapping by the Cheyenne. After the girls had jumped from the burning wagon, Rags followed and savagely attacked a Cheyenne brave attempting to carry the girls to his horse. But another Cheyenne rode up and speared Rags with a lance in the shoulder.

The spear had stopped Rags from killing the Cheyenne and possibly saving the girls as well. Mrs. Russell had nursed Rags back to health within a matter of days the big dog was back to his job of protecting the family with what appeared to be a new vigor. Most especially, Rags was devoted to Mrs. Russell whom Rags loved more than his own life.

Historically, the vet had told Leck that these dogs were known to be totally loyal to the master, no matter how cruel, and he thought it highly unusual that Rags had transferred his loyalty to Leck, so willingly, on command from Ima. But the fact that it had happened gave credence to the intellect of the dog, Leck did not want, but came to love.

“Rags...let’s go home boy!”

Rags followed just behind Jess’s heels...Jess did not fart as they trotted down the lane and out the road toward Raywick and the Lenahan Farm.

It was late in the afternoon before the entourage rode into St. Mary’s. He stopped at the Sheriff’s office to make a statement on the deaths of the Russell’s and to post a complaint on the four men Ima had described including the strange looking sorrel with the black eye patch.

Antonio Norvellino, the town’s sheriff was contrite, he had known Russell since he was a child and had recently met his wife Ima when they had come up from the Oregon Trail a few months before.

“I promise you this Leck...we will get these bastards...I will send a dispatch immediately. They could not have gotten very far.” The Sheriff assured Leck. 

“I got this death bed will from Ima authorizing me to sell the cattle Gabe purchased and are to be delivered today at Bardstown...thirty head. “Leck said.

“OK Leck, I’ll give you my official statement of your standing in our community. When you go over to Bardstown, you will have to go before the District Judge, have this will probated and you’ll get the court authorization for you to become the Executor as Ima has bequeathed.” The Sheriff said. “If you need any help Leck just let me know, or I know where to find you.”

“Antonio, there is one other thing I would ask you to do...please notify the Sheriff at Bardstown that two young girls, ages twelve and fourteen...blonde hair, green of Mariana and Rebecca Russell...coming from Pittsburgh...due into Bardstown...maybe tomorrow. They are expecting their Aunt Ima to be there...ask him not to tell the girls about the death of Ima until I get there...put them up at the Old Talbot Tavern.” Leck asked.


“Count on it Leck...I’ll ask him to confirm via return telegram.” Antonio 77 said.

“Obliged.” Replied Leck.

Leck continued on toward home relieved that a few pieces of the personal trauma were safely cared for. He had every hope that the next few hours in which he would share with his parents, brothers and sisters, the tragedy... which had unfolded for him on his seventeenth birthday, would be lifted from his youthful shoulders in fulfillment of his promise to Ima Russell.




Leck, Jess and Rags arrived at the Lenahan family farm in Raywick after dark. He knew that his parents, who rose before dawn each day, would be in bed. The light in the kitchen made it likely that his twin brothers Christian and Thomas, age twenty-four would still be up playing cards or reading. Sister Elaine, age twenty-six whose husband had died in 1851 during a skirmish with the Utes,  had been with the same Calvary unit in which Leck now served would now be in bed.

Catching the scent of Rags, the two family dogs of the

Lenahan’s set up a serious defensive wall of howls and running jesters to let the big dog know this wasn’t his territory. Just as they were about to jump him, Leck hollered at the pair to let them know that it was ok. Then he called to Rags to keep him close. 

“Rags...good boy, these guys are bullies, used to having everything their way...we’ll just take it easy here until things get a little more relaxed.” He said to the big dog.

By the time Leck had reached the barn, all three siblings had come out of the house and were at the barn door in a moment. Christian lit two lanterns as the other animals looked up at the commotion and saw the newest player in the barnyard.

Jess looked around and walked toward his stall, Tom took hold of his reigns.

“Hold on there big fellow...let’s get this tack off and get you rubbed down before you start to roll in the straw.” Tom said as he began to untack the big gray.

“No way you have been to Bardstown.” Elaine said while giving her kid brother a big hug.

“Happy Birthday Leck.” They all chimed in and began to pound on the baby of the family in celebration of his seventeenth birthday.



“After today I feel about as old as Pap.” Lenahan said as he began to unfold the story of the early morning murders he had discovered.

They bedded and fed Jess, blew out the lanterns and headed toward the house as Leck continued the litany of what had occurred since he had left home early that morning.

As he came into the Kitchen, Ma and Pap were both up setting at the table.

“What’s all this commotion birthday boy?” Pap said as Ma hugged and kissed Leck.

“Ain’t that Gabe Russell’s dog?” Pap said.

“He is my dog now Pap...if you’ll don’t mind it’s been a long day and I’m looking forward to the sleep that will bring me to the day of my eighteenth year...we have a lot to discuss in the morning.” He said.

Leck hugged and kissed each of the family...lingering at Ma...he patted her on the fanny.

“You still got the best figure in the west.” He said to his beloved mother. 

“Yeah except the butt has gone south after fourteen of you youngins.” she said.

Leck went up to the attic room to his bed. He removed his greatcoat, boots, shirt and pants. He left his long underwear and climbed into bed. Rags had taken a spot near the bed. Leck rubbed the dog as he looked out the window at the moon. The emotions of the day ran through him as he remembered the face of his friend Gabe...he wept as he fell asleep.




The next morning, Leck was awakened, by the rattling of pots and pans and movement in the kitchen. He slipped into his clothes, petted the big dog and they headed downstairs. Ma was at the big iron stove...putting in the kindling to start the fire for the morning family breakfast.

Leck gave his mother a big hug and kiss and went to the door to let Rags out. 

He went along to the outhouse, some 50 yards from the house. It was a small toilet with four holes. Leck didn’t bother to go into the outhouse but relieved himself at the edge of the house to keep an eye on Rags and his two other dogs...Wolf and Snake.

He wanted no confrontation between the dogs that he had loved since they were born. In fact Leck had been responsible for naming both the dogs. He did so because he was very much into nature when they came along.

“Snake...Wolf...come here guys.” He petted the two old friends as they vied for his touch and big hug for each. He held them as Rags approached...smelling their hind ends. The two began to yield territory. Leck was pleased because Rags could have eaten these guys for breakfast. He rubbed them all again and started to the house as they romped off toward the barn while doing the new dog dance.

In the kitchen, Leck washed his face and hands. He stood beside the large hearth. Pap came over and placed his hand on the boys shoulder. He looked up at Leck and his eyes spoke the sorrow he was feeling.

“I am so very sorry about Gabe and Ima. What a terrible thing. Must have been a great shock to you.” Pap said.

“You know Pap, I have seen a lot of death...been close to it myself over the past two years. But poor Gabe...he has been through so much and just when it seemed he had gotten over the anger of the loss of his leg...that he was truly happy with his life with Ima...boom, he is cut down.” He said. 

“Sometimes life is that way.” Pap said “It sometimes doesn’t seem fair that some live out their lives with little or no pain while others can’t get out of their own way without some major difficulty...but its all in the plan of the good Lord. We have to accept that Leck.” He said.

By now Elaine had come down to help in the kitchen. Tom and Christian came in from milking the cows and feeding the stock. They washed up at the sink using the hand pump to crank water from the well just outside the back porch.

Elaine poured coffee for all...she stopped at Leck’s chair and gave him a big hug and kiss.

“What are we going to do about your two new children?” She laughed. “I’m too young to take a wife.” He laughed

Ma and Elaine began to serve up the hearty breakfast of fresh eggs, Job bacon, grits, biscuits, milk gravy and oatmeal, routine fair, all grown at the farm...except for the coffee.



“Well Leck, you have some legal issues.” Pap said. “You will need to get over to Bardstown today and see your big brother Matthew. Lawyerin is his thing... The good thing about fourteen children is that we can cover all the bases.” He said laughing at the comment.

“Pap, if it’s possible for you to spare Tom or Christian tomorrow, they could drive the buckboard if Elaine could go along to pick up the Russell girls.” He asked.

“No problem.” Ma said “You should think of shaving that growth before you go’s enough to scare those poor girls out of their shoes.”

“Come on Ma, I didn’t plan to do that until June.” Leck said.

“Tom, you and Elaine better get a few things together, three or four days I would expect. I’ll fix you some eats...we’ll have a big family session when you get back with the girls, you know get the word out to the other children and their families.” Ma said.

Tom, Christian and Pap headed out to the barn to get the team together for the wagon and the trip to Bardstown. “Leck.” Ma called to him as he headed for his room. “You know I’ve raised fourteen wonderful children, but today

I am especially proud of have become such a good man...just like your Pap. Now don’t you fret one little bit about them young ladies...they will fit right in here...and before you know it, they will be just like those three dogs out there...glad to be a part of something this grand and loving.” She said giving him a kiss on the cheek.




Leck was exhausted but his active mind prevented him from sleep. It reminded him of the battlefield fatigue which all soldiers felt and dreaded. But sleep did come as soon as the rooster bringing with him the morning.

Leck was out of bed and down the stairs to put on his boots before anyone else had risen. There was a heavy freeze and morning lay everywhere like an old quilt, working it’s magic. Leck left his footprints on the art. He entered the barn to the delight of all but Jess who farted at his sight.

“There now old fella, is that anyway to treat the only one in this life who loves and cares for you?” Leck rubbed the big grays ears and gave him a large carrot as he began the process of saddling and getting his gear together.

There were still no lights in the house as the two of them trotted out toward St. Mary’s and then on to Bardstown.


                      ****Historical Review****


Lincoln removed General Irvin McDowell after the disaster at The Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas) and replaced him with his friend, General George S. McClellan, a thirtyfive year old West Point graduate. While McClellan strutted before review parades, to the delight of his new bride, General Grant continued to punch the clock in his blue-collar work-ethic.

Grant working with Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote took a small fort (not much more than a few mounds and boulders) on the Tennessee River called Fort Henry. Nearby, Fort Donaldson proved more troublesome, until Grant assumed command and the diminutive Grant with his ever-present stub cigar and disheveled appearance sent the rebels reeling.

The fort was under the command of John B. Floyd, President Buchanan’s discredited Secretary of War, who had left Buchanan’s Cabinet under suspicion that he had diverted supplies and medicine intended for the Indian Territory to the cause of the south. 



Serving under Floyd was General Gideon Pillow, a man Grant knew and disdained as a coward from the Mexican

War and a man he had defeated in the Battle of Belmont, Missouri on November 7, 1861, after which Grant reportedly got drunk while his men looted and where surprised by another Confederate regiment coming up from Cairo across the river from the Union encampment. So Grant won one and lost one in the same day.

At Fort Donaldson, when it became apparent it could not be defended, Floyd and Pillow escaped, leaving Simon B. Buckner in command to deal with the attacks of Grant. Buckner was an old friend of Grants knew him well enough to loan him enough money to get out of a hotel after a week-long drunk left him broke and humiliated. Buckner hoped that his friend would be more accepting to the terms of surrender he sent forth upon notification that he was now in command.

But Grant was a pit bull when it came to war...he would literally bite the hand that fed him...and he did so to his old friend, showing no quarter sending forth a terse response to Buckner... “I will accept nothing less than your immediate and unconditional surrender!”

The northern press, with so little good news coming out of the White House eagerly pushed their papers onto the doting public with stories of the heroic efforts of Grant in winning two battles, definitively. Grant was glorified in the press and the headlines substituted his initials (U.S.) for his now famous demand for unconditional surrender.

But other Union generals were not so thrilled with the press generated by the “runt of the litter.” In particular, his immediate superior, was still incensed by Grants drunken stupors causing at least one major loss at Belmont, Missouri. Henry Halleck, fearful that Grant’s rising star might damage his own career, demoted him using the drunken incident as cause seeking to smear his name and run him back out of the military. But an influential Illinois congressman, Ellhu Washburne came to Grant’s aid by routing the case directly to the President.

It didn’t take much time for Lincoln to decide the matter. He had been thrilled by Grant’s aggressive attacks and his “take no prisoner” approach to each battle and he saw in Grant what he had been looking for in several other generals. He immediately exonerated Grant and nominated him for promotion to major general. And is so doing, it is reported that Lincoln invoked a few expletives aimed at Henry Halleck by quoting Confucius, somewhat altered... “That god-damn Halleck tried to kill a mosquito using liquor on the throat of my cannon.”

It is reported as well that Grant came to the aid of his old friend, Simon B. Buckner after his reinstatement and promotion. Buckner had been imprisoned, Grant had him released and brought to him...whereupon he gave Buckner his money pouch and his freedom.

The brief glimmer of hope brought by the exploits of Grant, the first major blow to the Confederacy was tempered by personal tragedy for the President. Even as Grant assaulted the Tennessee fort, a debilitating fever gripped Lincoln’s two youngest sons, Willie and Tad, the condition contracted from the water of the polluted Potomac, the source of the White House drinking water.


Eleven-year –old Willie died on February 20, 1862, the grief stricken President and the bewildered Mrs. Lincoln had to bury their second son. Deeply depressed and heavily medicated Mrs. Lincoln was bedridden for several months from a nervous breakdown. The President used his grief to focus on the war and a bit of secret information, which had come to him from one of the most unusual sources, the information would change forever the way wars are fought on the water.

While the Union seemed to be mired in the corruption and malaise of big government, the undermanned and deeply under-financed Confederacy fought for its very life. The memories of the sacrifices of the American Revolution had long since faded from the north and the eastern seaboard had no idea what loyalty and love of land could drive the human spirit to accomplish. General Winfield Scott’s, “Anaconda Plan” may have been scoffed at and ridiculed by the members of the northern military intelligencia, the President, the politicians and the press but after it had been leaked to the press, Jefferson Davis and his Cabinet took notice. They knew that Scott was correct and they knew as well that the prices of cotton in Europe had fallen drastically by an obsessive market condition the previous two years permitting the industrial buyers to warehouse the product, further complicating the economies of cotton for the south were the entries of foreign grown cotton coming from India and other countries whose climates recreated those in the south.

The north would soon know that only a minor blockade at either New Orleans or Charleston, disrupting the movement of goods, machines and supplies would indeed strangle, as the anaconda and quickly bring to an end the cause of the south. But while the north fumbled and fussed, fidgeted and pursed, laughed and manipulated... the brilliant military minds, which the south had bred and inherited from the regular army, were creatively at work. Son’s of the south that had gone off to West Point returned now in major numbers to stand on inherited pride and love of the land.

They raised the frigate Merrimac, scuttled by the Union navy and were covering the wooden sides of the warship with iron prepared at Richmond’s Tredegar Iron Works. A brilliant concept which had never before been used because the technology wasn’t available...and this invention and would bring about a technological change unmatched until the introduction of the airplane in World War I.

But even as the southern leaders creatively scrimped by using restored warships with iron-sides, danger lurked in the iron works themselves as slaves were put to the task by their masters to cast the cannons to be used against their future dreams. Late in February of 1862, a free black woman from Norfolk, passed through enemy lines and went to the Navy Department. Hidden in her underwear was a letter from a Union sympathizer who worked in the Confederate navy yard (shades of the Diplomat Wilson and his spy bride for the CIA in 2005) reporting on the Merrimac.





A contract to design and build a competitor for the south’s now, non-secret super warship was let to New Yorker, John Ericsson, a man who would not meet the qualifications of the KnowNothings because he was a Swedish immigrant and internationally renowned engineer. His design, to be known as the Monitor, was not simply a wooden warship covered in steel. He drew plans for a flat, raft like ship with a revolving turret equipped with two eleven-inch guns...very much along the lines of the first submarines.

John Eriksson struggled with the contract deadline of one hundred days but he could not meet the schedule of the Confederacy which launched the Merrimac, (Virginia), and headed to Hampton Roads, the channel through which three of Virginia’s rivers: the James; the Nansemond and the Elizabeth empty into the Chesapeake Bay, The northern shore of the channel at Fort Monroe and Newport News were occupied by the Union. The Gosport Navy Yard was occupied by the Confederates since the Union navy abandoned the port at the beginning of the war. In the channel itself, the water route to Richmond was controlled by the Union fleet.

The Merrimac (Virginia) steamed out of port under the command of Franklin Buchanan (1800-1874), a Baltimorean who was the first superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy. Buchanan had also accompanied Commodore Matthew Perry on the expeditions to the Orient that opened Japan to the western world. Buchanan had resigned from the U.S. Navy to enter the service of the Confederacy. On Saturday, March 8, he led a small fleet out to do battle with the Union’s blockading fleet and shore batteries.

One Union observer reported, “We saw what to all appearances looked like a giant barn roof that was on fire. We were all divided in opinion as to what was coming at us. The boatswain’s mate was the first to make out the Confederate flag. And then we all guessed it was the Merrimac (Virginia) coming at us at last.”

On the Union’s Cumberland, pilot A.B. Smith said, “As she came plunging through the water...she looked like a submerged prehistoric crocodile. Her sides seemed of solid iron, except where the guns pointed out from the narrow her prow I

could see the iron ram projecting straight forward like the giant penis of an elephant, lapping at the water’s edge as though it was seeking a big vagina.”

The Union shore batteries fired as fast as they could, A.B. Smith recalled, “still she came on, the balls bouncing off her mailed sides like India-rubber, apparently not making the least impression, except to cut off her flag-staff, bring down the Confederate colors...but a Reb grabbed it and held it aloof and waved it at us as the fearsome warship came on and then her cannons let loose and five of our marines were was impossible for our vessel to get out of the way of that big prick headed toward us...I ran across the deck as though it was going to corn hole rammed a substantial hole in the side, driving our ship back against its anchors...and then the water came rushing into the hold, and we swam for our lives.... we were all terrified, I have never been so scared, and in awe!”

As the Cumberland went down fighting, the tradition of the wooden warships, dating from the ancient empires went down with it. But the hopes and aspirations of the Confederacy was once again buoyed by innovation. The day would end resolutely... but the north would rise again.


When morning of the next day came, the wounded Commodore Buchanan saw for the first time the Union’s answer to the dilemma placed upon the Bay by the Confederates. In the night, the Monitor had taken up a position next to the crippled Minnesota to wait the light of day. Under the command of Lieutenant John L Worden (1818-1897), the crew of fifty-seven had weathered the sea voyage and the very likely threat of sinking the vessel which floated on the water like Huck Finn’s raft. Except this raft sat about eighteen inches above the water, at 172 feet long and forty-one and 1/2 feet wide it wasn’t very impressive but it was a thing from the future and all the participants that day waited with deep emotion for the beginning of what...they did not know, except they knew it would not be good.

Cautious spectators crowded the shores on both sides. The two ironclads locked onto each other, guns blasting. Watching with astonishment aboard the helpless Minnesota, Commander G.J. VanBrunt later recalled, “Gun after gun was fired by the Monitor, which was returned with whole broadsides by the Rebels, with no more affect, apparently, as so many snow-balls lobbed by children at play.”


Like prizefighters exchanging blows, the two vessels battled for hours. An explosion near the pilothouse temporarily blinded the commander of the Union ironclad, and it went momentarily out of control. Lieutenant Jones, now in command of the Confederate’s vessel because Commodore Buchanan had been wounded, thought the Union ship was withdrawing. His craft now leaking, his crews exhausted by two days of nearly non-stop battering and short on powder and shot, Jones ordered the vessel to return to Norfolk. However, the Union ironclad was undamaged; seeing the Ribs depart, it took up position once again by the grounded Minnesota, whose crew had been prepared for the worst, rejoiced as the new Hero of Hampton Road bobbed in the water none-the-less for wear and, a seemingly good investment for the Union at $275,000 if it could be kept from fractious waters. The day was clearly a draw, and Commander Worden with limited vision was taken to Washington to meet with a joyous Commander-in-chief.

Inconclusive in the sense that neither ironclad emerged a clear victor, the long-term advantage went to the Union. Future historians would fault the Confederacy for a failure to follow through with the vessel, which had brought so much damage to the wooden ships of the north blockading the water routes to the south...Monday morning quarterbacks agreed that it wasn’t in the best interest of either ironclad to go against each other but to be used to slip in and out of action as a weapon of deterrent. The Union ironclad did prevent the south’s vessel from breaking the Union’s effective blockade, as well as providing another Union disaster, which the President could ill afford. The Confederate navy would soon abandon Norfolk, and the Union would be far more capable of producing more ironclads.

Ironically, neither vessel ever figured prominently in the war again. The Virginia was run aground by her crew on May 11, and set afire to prevent her capture. The Union ironclad lasted only a few more months; she foundered in heavy seas and went down with sixteen crew members on December 31, 1862. Future naval 86 historians argue that the open sea was the place where the Confederates should have engaged the enemy, the low-slung Monitor would not have been able to advance a battle in the churning sea and the Virginia would have ruled the day. 




               HILLBILLY HEAVEN...OR HELL!


(“Hanging John Brown will make the gallows as glorious as the cross.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, another misguided Northerner!)

Lenahan could hear the noise outside the was late by the time he had arrived in Bardstown and found a livery stable near the stockyards where he was hoping he would find the cattle purchased by Gabe Russell.

“Evenin” an elderly black man took hold of Jess’s reigns. “You’re in luck tonight Major, I’ve just got three stall left” he smiled at Lenahan. “You with the federals” he inquired.




“Not for awhile” Lenahan said as he dismounted the wagon removing his shotgun and the revolvers from the saddle holsters in the back

“Beggin your pardon armed to the teeth...wars over” he said

“Evil lurks at every corner...never know when it will spring up in your face” Lenahan said. “Any chance I could pay you to cook up some oats with some molasses for old Jess here...he is a good old boy and we’ve come a long way, as far as these other two just straight oats...can only have one spoiled horse, don’t you know!” He said.

“No problem Major, I’ll get this tack off these two, rub them all down real good” the old man said.

“Bless you for making these Beast of Burden comfortable.” Leck said.

“Gonna be here long?” The old man inquired.


“Got some hides, supposed to be at the stockyard pen tomorrow, reckon I’ll be here for a couple of days” Lenahan said as he took a water bucket to the team...

“Got nice big stalls for ya...all bedded with clean straw and a big bucket of cold spring water, and don’t worry about that big bully next door...he got a temperament jus like his owner...wanting to kick the walls...never 

saw such a bad mannered and filthy sorrel in my life” the old man said gesturing to the horse in the next stall.

Lenahan’s eyes widened, he walked toward the stall door...the sorrel lunged from the back of the stall with his mouth wide open ... “Whoa there big fellow.” Lenahan said in a low voice... “You don’t want to bite me...then I wouldn’t want to give you one of these sweet carrots.” Lenahan said as he pulled the carrot from his saddlebag.

The big sorrel with a black patch on his eye nickered from the back of the stall and slowly edged toward the carrot sniffing as he did so.

“You got a nice way with horses Major...need a job.” the old man laughed.

“When did this horse come in?” Lenahan asked. “Got here this afternoon, came in with two other riders.” he said. “Fellow riding the he a big man?” Lenahan inquired.




“Yes sir a big man too... but this man owned this here sorrel, he a head taller n’ you and got you outweighed by 100 pounds.” He said.

“Know where these three men might have gone?” Lenahan asked.

“Heck...stand out there at the door and you can hear them...they been getting one heck of a drunk on since they got here.” the old man said

“As slow as I am on the draw...that should give me the edge I will need” Lenahan did not smile as he paid the old gent.

“No need for change, old timer... just take good care of my swayback...” Lenahan said.

“Heh, you paid for listen Major...don’t know your intent over there, but I’m just givin you a heads up...thems mean boys you going up against...all wel heeled with new colts and repeaters and I knows they been up to some evil...I heard one of them laughing to the other saying...did you see that bitch’s eyes when I had her pinned to the floor...and the other one said, she was doing some real pig grunting when I puts the poker to her.” He said

“Where would a fellow locate the law here?” Lenahan asked. 

“Sheriffs down with the scurvy, ain’t seem him in three days, and his help is no doubt in the saloon...drunk...he ain’t gonna go up agin that bunch...because he just a fool and a coward to boot.” He said.

“Yeh, they sound like a prideful bunch...but we’ll see who’s doing the grunting and who is doing the poking in due course.”

Lenahan broke the shotgun and placed two shells into the chamber; He took his left arm from his greatcoat and held the shotgun beneath the coat sleeve. His revolver was in a holster over his left groin, set up for a cross draw to accommodate the use of the shotgun.

Lenahan walked away and down the street... Rags followed.

The old man shook his head and eased out behind him. He picked up an old squirrel gun as he left the stable.

“I ain’t ever seen a more fierce man or scarier dog as those two.” The old man said to himself. “I gots to see what freight this night will bring.”


Lenahan walked through the big saloon door, a bitter wind and snow blew in behind him.

“Whooooo...the wind set the tone as he entered the saloon, and the cross ventilation sent smoke from the fireplace back into the saloon.

Framed by the pitch darkness and the white of the snow, mixed with the garish blue, gray, green smoky colors of the saloon... Against the night sky, Lenahan looked seven feet tall and Rags… like some wild vicious thing from hell... The large fireplace took in a breath of the bitter cold wind and let out a mournful sound...whooooo, as if in answer to that coming from the door. Several lamps swung side to side and flickered a garish yellow/green into the mirror behind the bar and then across the room...the piano player stopped, and two men nearest the door, tugged at their coat collars ...wincing from the snow and wind.



Someone yelled “Shut the goddamn fuckin hick” Lenahan slowly glanced at the obscene caller... Rags growled a deep, low guttural growl. Cold chills ran up the back of the man making the remark and his left eye quivered as he moved toward the back wall like a cur dog that had been repeatedly mistreated. From the big front door Lenahan crossed the room to a large bar on the left side of the saloon. As he walked his spurs drug the wooden floor... the sound eerily like that of chains... twenty sets of eyes made their way over his six foot four slender frame, hung beneath an old floppy federal issue hat. He was so thin he nearly looked like a hat and coat rack, as he stood against the bar with his left boot on the rail. 

The wall mirror swept the front of the bar... his trained eyes... low beneath the brim of the hat, slowly made their way around the room. He saw the boisterous group, led by the biggest man in the saloon near the center of the room. To the left of them a piano player watched...crouching near the side of the piano. Someone threw a glass across the room at the piano player, who reached for the piano keys from the side of the piano.

“Earn your keep you faggot...let’s have some music, this place is dead.” How prophetic!

“Bad night out there stranger...what can I get to warm you?” the bartender asked.

“Make that a whiskey...with beer on the side.” Lenahan said as he shelled out a silver coin. “Got any left-over meat I could feed my dog?”

“My pleasure there Major.” The bartender set a shot glass before Lenahan, poured it to the rim and followed with a mug of beer, which his nervous hand spilled partially on the bar...Leck watched as the bartender wiped up the beer with a towel.


Lenahan reached out with a purplish right hand still cold from the ride north, he took the shot glass between his thumb and index finger....his pinkie was in the air. In a single motion he swallowed the whiskey and set the glass on the bar without grimace, wink or sign of displeasure which generally followed a first drink of the rot-gut served at this Slaughter House Saloon. Then he drank all the beer without stopping.

“ Major.” The bartender said with a sly look on his face while he refilled the beer mug. “Been hiding out long” the bartender and two others at the bar laughed at the remark, slamming their fist on the bar and pounding each other on the back and shoulders.

Lenahan reached across the bar in one quick motion... he pulled the startled bartender up to the bar with his collar...the two men were close enough to kiss.

“Does the dollar cover the drink and the jokes?” Lenahan sneered.

“Sorry there harm intended...just funnin.” The bartender said trying to straighten his collar, “Just meant... you know, its 1858 there is no war that I know of going on.”

“There is always a war somewhere, that’s what set us apart from the animals...there is only peace in death!” Lenahan said. 

“Meant no harm...have a drink on the house.” The bartender said as he poured Leck another drink.

“I’ll be looking for the sheriff” Lenahan said.

Everybody laughed....except Lenahan and the bartender.

“Sheriff’s got himself a bad case of the clap...but his deputy is over there in the corner...looks like he has turned in for the night.” A man near Lenahan at the bar said as the group in the center of the room laughed heartily pointing at Lenahan.

Lenahan looked at him with disgust. “Obliged” he said as he made his way over to the now fully passed out lawman, draped over the table.

Lenahan reached down and jerked the deputy up straight. “Wake up” he shouted... there was no response. Lenahan pushed him back into the chair and reached down ripping the badge from his shirt. He crossed the room to the center passing the piano player who moved like a cat from his chair to the side of the instrument. The quite, disturbed only by the sound of Lenahan's spurs against the wood floors and the draft from the fireplace...whoooooooo.

Establishing a gray mood, which seemed to anticipate something none of the eyes could comprehend or hearts feel the emotional pain residing in Lenahan for the loss of his best friend Gabe Russell and Gabe’s beloved wife, Ima.

Lenahan reached the table where the big man, the owner of the strangely marked sorrel, Ima Russell had described on her deathbed, sat. The big guy didn’t flinch...nor did his two partners who remained seated with hands visible to Lenahan. Lenahan coolly placed the badge on the table between the men, as he did so he pointed to the insignia of the law.

“You’re under arrest.” Lenahan said as he backed away from the table.

“Who is this pig shit nitwit.” exclaimed one of the men. Lenahan’s eyes looked through him...the man was nervous, Leck noted a bead of sweat across the top of his lip and ruddy complexion reddened, by the excitement, ran up his cheek.

“Yeh...who do you think you are...Kit Carson!” They all laughed.

“Better give us your name your kin can pick up your worthless ass.” The big guy said.

“Some call me Hillbilly.” Lenahan said 

“Wouldn’t you know it...damn hillbilly is so stupid he is even stamped with the name.”

They all laughed. “That’s like calling a girl baby... female.”

“Bet he don’t have no last name...probably got no paw...a bastard hillbilly.” they roared at the remark while gesturing obscenely to each other and those in the bar.

“Hillbilly what? shithead?” the big guy said, “ha,ha,ha.”

“For some it’s Hillbilly Heaven, and others it’s The Other Side of Hell...tonight you men will decide which of the two it will be. Lay down those pistols and you’ll live to see a judge...that will be a little bit of heaven... until they hang you for murder. Decide otherwise...keep your weapons, make your play and tonight the last name will be Hell” Lenahan said as he watched the eyes of the trio. “Cause that’s where you are headed.”

“Vernon!” a little guy to his right said snappishly. “Let me blast this pig shitter to hell and back”


“You like that word, “pig shitter” don’t you?” Lenahan said to the man.

“Now you are probably asking yourself how this pig shitter would know are probably saying that I must be a pig shitting mind reader...or is that what you said about my friend Ima Russell while you were raping and savaging her... after you had killed her husband...then you viciously beat her and gut shot her leaving her to bleed to death.” Lenahan said without raising his voice.

There was a murmur from the others in the bar as they looked from one to the other, seemingly knowing the names of the Russell’s and the location of the farm.

“Vernon” the little man snapped again.

All three men stood up...they looked at each other...the big guy said “You don’t have to do this boy...just turn and walk out of here...this is no night for dying.”

Lenahan stood his ground while pushing back his coat to reveal the fed issue Navy Colt. Vernon and the other two men saw the weapons and the eyes under the hat...they appeared to be possessed...gleaming and moist but piercing with seriousness.


“A man’s got to follow his conscious...and if it cost him his life, it should be worth it, something I doubt any of you would know anything about...honor, love, family, reputation...because the lot of you aren’t good enough to clean up after Gabe Russell or his wife’re just low life curs.” Lenahan said.

As he spoke the two subordinates on the left of Vernon showed their disgust and anger over the remark... they looked at each other, raising their eyebrows, As if to say is this guy nuts...the little guy bit his tongue...the other man pissed his pants...both drew down on Lenahan. Clearing the holsters with the ease of appeared they had the drop on Lenahan. But in that instant before they could manage to pull the triggers... Lenahan flashed the shotgun from beneath his coat and cleared the barrel on the two of them…BLAMMMM…BLAMMM…both barrels cleared and smoke fell out the end, seeking a place on the floor.

Inside the saloon the noise was amplified several times as it ricochet off the ceiling and walls. The smoke filled the area between the two men standing and drifted toward the ceiling like a curtain call. The smell of sulpher was pungent to the nose and eyes.

Blood splattered across the room... mixed with soft tissue and bone fragments, it flew into the faces of many watching and across Vernon’s clothes, face and hands. Vernon was extremely fast...his Colt 45 with its short barrel cleared his holster as though it had been greased with lard... his revolver came up waist high. Vernon was confident... this was like so many other shootings in which he had killed another man. He had outdrawn Lenahan and felt he had the slightest edge he would need to drop him.

Rags made a menacing move on Vernon...just enough time to distract the gunslinger for a precious second.

But just as quickly Vernon saw the lightning fast draw of Lenahan’s pistol and it’s flash. PBSTTTT... Lenahan’s pistol was loud and deadly accurate.

“Shit fire.” Vernon thought... “Where did that come from...?” He felt a stinging, painful sensation from his wrist to his neck as Lenahan’s shot pierced Vernon’s wrist shattering the fine bones in his right hand. Vernon’s gun dropped limply to the table, but Vernon’s eyes remained fixed on Lenahan in disbelief. He had outdrawn Lenahan...he was hurt, he was angry... but he had another hand.

“I outdrew you!” Vernon shouted at Lenahan.

“It’s not how fast you are Vernon but how skillful the shot.” Lenahan said. “Now get your hands in the air.”

“I’ll kill dirty son-of-a-bitch. Look what you’ve done to my gun hand.”

Vernon half screamed, half whispered in the clarity of the moment. He stood in shock and total dismay. Is this the way I am going out he thought as he reached for his weapon with the left hand? Vernon fumbled in pain...but he was able to cock the pistol as best he could and began to raise it to get off a round. Lenahan waited patiently and then fired off another round. The shell ripped through Vernon’s left wrist... now standing naked against his perpetrator. Vernon felt such rage... such humiliation, that this bag of pig shit had killed his partners and, to make matters worse...he had been outdrawn by this simple shit-kickin hillbilly.

“Go on kill me...” He screamed at Lenahan...he kicked the table over, fumbling madly while rushing with his wide body headlong toward Lenahan. His useless hands bloody and limp, flailed in 94 the air as a prima ballerina waiting for her dance partner... Lenahan fired again. This time the bullet struck Vernon’s right kneecap. He went down grasping the knee in horror as blood ran out onto the floor.

“You’re not worth killing...but I’m going to see to it that you stand trial for the murders, theft and rape of my friends.” Lenahan said with no sign of the revenge, which welled in his heart...and at bottom he wanted nothing more than to put a slug into Vernon’s ear.

“But...but I won’t ever walk again” Vernon cried out with a look on his face...that someone should care. For the first time in this bully’s life he was on the receiving end of humiliation and wasn’t a feeling he knew, nor did he like it.

“Neither will the Russell’s” Lenahan said.




“All right soldier...drop that gun.” A command came from the door.

Lenahan turned to face the Sheriff… Rags growled...

“Easy there Rags.” Lenahan commanded. 

“Fair fight Sheriff.” The Bartender yelled. Several other men shook their head that it was true. “These three drew down on the Major...I never saw a man agin three, who had outdrawn him...take them out so fast. Hell he could have easily killed the big guy there but said he was going to see to his hangin for the murder of the Russell’s over at St. Mary’s.

“That so...I’ll need statements from you men.” Major I’m going to have to hold you over night. We will go before the federal judge tomorrow, and you can give your statement.” The Sheriff said.

“What about my dog Sheriff.” Lenahan asked.

“Did he kill someone?” The Sheriff asked.

“Am I able to keep him in my cell?” Lenahan asked. “No I couldn’t permit you to do that.” The Sheriff said.

“I’ll take good care of your dog tonight sir.” The black man from Livery stable stepped from the shadows.

“Obliged.” Lenahan said as he motioned to Rags to follow the old man. “Go on’s OK.” He said to the dog, at least he hoped that it would be.




When they got to the Sheriff’s office, Lenahan was reluctant to give a statement as to the events.

“Sheriff, my brother is an attorney...” Lenahan began.

As he spoke a big well-dressed man came through the door of the jail.

“Sheriff, this is my baby brother, Leck Lenahan...I just missed you at the saloon...I heard the entire story from several who had seen the gun fight...sounds like an open and shut case of self-defense.” Matthew Lenahan said.

“Nonetheless two men are dead...and a third badly wounded.” The Sheriff began.

“No Sheriff, let me correct the record..., there are four people who are dead...two innocents at St. Mary’s and the two who participated in the

raping and murdering of two of our good citizens, Gabe and Ima Russell.” Lenahan said.

“As an officer of the law, I know you are sworn to do your duty. I know as well that the Sheriff in St. Mary’s telegraphed you about this murder with a description of the leader of the gang...these men should have been under arrest and my brother would not have been called upon to attempt a citizen’s arrest.” Matthew said.

“Well yah...I did get the telegram...but you know I have been sick, so bad crippled by this disease, I can’t nearly walk...I had a deputy...” the Sheriff continued

“Your deputy was drunk on the job, when my brother tried to get him to make the arrest he told this take the badge and do it isn’t that a fact Leck?” Matthew Lenahan said

“Yes, I...” Leck started.

“Sheriff, I too am an officer of the court...and I say to you either charge this man or set him free.” Matthew commanded.





On the walk to Matthew’s house, Matthew put his arm around his youngest brother...

“I am so sorry about Gabe and Ima...but Leck you can’t go taking the law into your own hands...good thing this happened here in Bardstown.” Matthew said.

“Matthew something happened in that saloon tonight beyond the deaths and the shootings...something or someone took over my entire body...I do not remember a single thing that occurred until the Sheriff took me into custody...I was possessed, I believe by the devil himself.” Leck said.

“’ve been through a great deal of strain in just a few years, and now there is this serious talk about a war between the states...I worry about you as do the rest of the family...especially Ma and Pap” Matthew continued

“Why don’t you consider mustering out of the service, come in and serve an apprenticeship with me in the law...find yourself a good

woman...settles down and lives out the American dream...Leck you have earned no less.” Matthew said.

“Thanks Matt, that is very kind of you to say...and trust me, coming from you it means a lot. I will definitely think about it.” Leck said

“Do you really like being a lawyer?” Leck asked.

“Sure, it’s not every day that you get to keep your kid brother out of the jailhouse.” He laughed.

“Seriously, I enjoy the hours spent in preparation for a case, finding just the right method for presentation of that case and finally, winning the freedom in many cases...” “Of men who are guilty” Leck interjected.

“I would be less than truthful if I didn’t admit there was some of that, but Leck I truly believe the oath I have taken, and I believe that every man is innocent until proven guilty, and every man, guilty or innocent deserves the very best defense ...”

“Money can buy?” Leck injected.


“You are a scenicle young man, even for my brother.” Matthew said.

As they approached the home of Matthew Lenahan, Leck turned to his older brother.

“Thanks again Matt for your help, now do me another favor. I am going to go on down to the know check out the stock, see how my dog is getting on. Please ask Tom and Elaine to go to the train station tomorrow to meet Marianna and Rebecca Russell. Take them back to the farm. I’ll meet you at the courthouse to clear up this matter and then try to sell those hides Gabe purchased before I head on back to the farm.”

“Sounds like a plan Leck...get a good night’s rest...and try to catch a bath before you show up at the courthouse.” Matthew laughed.

“Is that a part of being a lawyer?”

“It is if you want to keep getting paid.”


Leck took his big brothers advice, after getting one of the best night’s sleep in quite awhile, he went to the Barber Shop bright and early for a bath, shave and haircut. He purchased a new shirt and trousers and looked the part of innocence as he took his place alongside Matthew at the hearing.

The sheriff presented the facts to the court, including several sworn affidavits that Electus Dominus Lenahan had attempted to make a citizen’s arrest of three known killers. The evidence showed that those three men drew weapons and attempted to kill Electus Dominus Lenahan whereupon Electus Dominus Lenahan was forced to defend himself resulting in the death of two of the killers and the third man wounded and taken prisoner by Electus Dominus Lenahan.

The judge at the hearing called for Electus Dominus Lenahan to stand before him.

“You were a busy young man last night!” he said. “Killed two gunslingers and I understand left a third man an invalid.”

               “Yes your honor.”       98 Leck said.

“Mr. Lenahan, I understand you were best friends of Gabe Russell...that was a gruesome murder but this court does not condone anyone taking the law into their own hands...if you want to practice law...become a lawyer or get yourself a job as a lawman...until you accomplish one of those honorable professions, I do not want to see you back in this courtroom.” The judge said.

“Yes your honor.” Leck responded.

Matthew gathered his briefcase and his younger brother and they left the courthouse.

“Thanks again brother, until you get your just reward. I am headed to the livery to see a man about thirty head of cattle, and then off to Raywick to spend some time with the family. Hope to see you there on Sunday Matt?”




Selling the cattle was an easy matter, seems the army was nearby and in need of a few head. Leck got top dollar for the cattle. Fitting indeed he thought that Gabe should sell his cattle to the army...a small bit of compensation for a man who gave his leg in order to see to it that a few settlers could make the trip through country supposed to be free for 

travelers. But the west was a wild and unruly place, soon to be tamed but lives to be lost before it happened.

Leck had been a part of the taming. It had contributed to making him a man and giving him the ability to look into the soul of another man, even while he took his life.

It was that parts of what he had been that made him yearn once again for the open spaces; the lawless nature of his job...a job he felt had not been finished. He had been away from it for much too long and decided as he, Jess and Rags headed back to Raywick that come Monday morning this crew would be on its way to Colorado.




Leck had not traveled to far from Bardstown along the road leading to Springfield when both Rags and Jess started to act up. Rags ran ahead and returned to Lenahan with obvious disdain for what he sensed on the road ahead. Could be a wild cat Leck thought. He was unable to see over the slight ridge ahead and having traveled this road many times he knew well that the road


took a steady drop into another sharp curve and then ran some five miles along a river bed to the west.

Lenahan called to Rags... “Rags, come here boy...smell a wild cat...Lenahan reached down from the saddle and rubbed the top of the big dogs' jowls which was positioned at his waist. Are you just excited for a bit of a fight or is there some other problem up there?” Leck spoke as though the big dog could answer, and according to Leck he could.

Lenahan dismounted, took his revolver from the saddle holster and continued on foot with Jess in tow. At the top of the ridge, Leck could see well the reason for Rags discontent. There at the foot of the incline was the Lenahan family buckboard. Leck could see Elaine sitting alone on the front seat and the two Russell girls in the back seat...but where was Tom, his brother?” Lenahan made his way slowly over the ridge and began the descent into the valley below, but then he stopped and remounted Jess while guiding the big gray off the road and into the woods adjacent to it and to the east. Certainly the going would be slower and more treacherous but Leck knew that there might be a problem with his family that he was unable to see and had decided to come in from the east once he had made his way down the steep hill.

Again Rags growled and Leck admonished the dog to keep quite. The trees were all stripped now of foliage and with the exception of the cedars there was little cover or color at this time of year. The day itself was clear 

and sunny with a crisp feel to air making the animals frisky and the lungs less susceptible to the cold air which filled them as Leck took in increasingly larger gulps to sustain the energy he was now exerting trying to stay on Jess as the big gray planted his front hooves into the earth and slid partially down the incline. But in time the three found the bottom of the hill and the sound of men talking not far from the road.

“So you’re the brother of this gunslinger that done gone and killed my brother?” Leck heard one of the men shout.

“Well where I comes from the old bible adage ‘an eye for an eye’ is the law of this here land, and I can say I am going to enjoy killing you slowly here before these beautiful young women. But before I kill you I plan to take myself some pleasure here on this bright and beautiful morning.”

Leck could hear the man speaking and it sounded as though at least two others laughing at the last comment. Clearly he had arrived in the nick of time and his anger spurred by the senseless nature of killing. He had fought in self-defense and now the relatives were coming out of the woods for their own brand of revenge, which included rape and murder.

Leck tied Jess to a tree and took his shotgun from its holster along the rib cage of his horse. He broke the barrel and loaded two shells into the chamber while snapping the gun barrel back into place. Leck moved forward in a half crouch with Rags at his heel.

“I am disappointed that this here brother of yours is not with you folks this morning, I was looking forward to making his acquaintance...” he spat a large chew of tobacco at Tom as he spoke.

“Not so disappointed that you had to ambush us like the dirty cowards that you are.” Tom said angrily.

The leader stepped forward and struck Tom with the butt of his rifle. Tom went down from the blow and blood gushed from his nose and mouth.

“Bleed like a stuck pig...don’t he Amos?” one of the other men said.

“Amos you done gone and messed up the pretty boys face and I was just taking a liking to him...Amos don’t mess up the other end I intend to use it for awhile.” The man said to the pleasure of the others.

“Have at it son but I prefer one of these pink beauties,” Leck could now see clearly the three men and the man doing the talking approaching the 

back of the buckboard where one of the Russell girls sat in a mortified manner.

Leck stood up from a slight knob not more than twenty feet from the back of the wagon.

“Freeze!” Leck shouted.

Amos, at the back of the buckboard turned to face the sound of the voice.

Rags instinctively leaped forward and in no more than two jumps he had Amos’s arm in the grip of his big jowls. Amos screamed in pain and fear of the dog.

Another of the men wheeled on Leck who saw the move and fired from his hip with his revolver while pointing the shotgun at the other bushwhacker.

Leck made his way down from the knob, slipping down the hill. Amos seeing his advantage cleared his knife and began thrusting it at Rags who let go of his arm. Amos raised his pistol and fired at Leck.


Leck was down. Tom cleared his pistol from its holster and fired two rounds into Amos. Blood splattered from the throat wound and onto the Russell girls.

The third man ran half forward, half backward as Rags took out for him. The man began to shoot at the dog as Tom got off two more shots, both of which found their spots. The man dropped as Rags stood over him. The second of the bushwhackers, in desperation grabbed for Elaine hoping to use her as a shield...he backed her toward his horse.

“I don’t want to kill her but I swear to God this is a dead woman if either of you move a hair” the man shouted as he continued to back toward his horse using Elaine as a human shield.

“Let her go!” Leck demanded. “You will not get far with this dog on your heels, drop the gun and I promise you safe passage to the sheriff at St. Mary’s...don’t make this any worse on yourself than it already is” Leck continued.

But the man had a savage fear. He made it safely to his hobbled horse, he took the reins and slipped his left foot into the stirrup, and as he did so, he let Elaine loose and began to fire at Leck as he mounted his horse. The horse shied from the gunshots, and tossed the man as he did so; the man fell to the ground, on his back, but came up firing once again at Leck. 

Leck raised the shotgun and leveled the barrel at the man clearing the chamber as he did so. BLAMM, BLAMM.

.the shotgun roared at the flick of the trigger, the man fell in a mighty heap.

After a time, the morning was quiet, but the air was pungent with the smell of gun smoke.

“Well Tom” Leck said to the oldest twin, “you have now become another of the infamous Lenahan clan gunslingers. Not much you can do about the change to your lifestyle. The very best advice I can give to you is to try to live this reputation down before there ever is another occurrence. Move if you have to, but Tom, I promise from this day forward, you and your loved ones lives will never be the same.” Leck continued.

“These men you have killed heroically today, and in self defense, will come forward like the locust and just as the bad guy Amos intoned the words of the bible at the outset. .’An eye for an eye’ lives on, never mind Tom that you were in the right, never mind that the sheriff at St. Mary’s will attest to your right at self-defense and the protection of your family from these bushwhackers. .the relatives and


friends will come out of the woods to avenge the loss of their worthless lives.”

Rebecca saw that Tom was bleeding profusely from the nose. “I have some training Tom, let me help you with the nose bleed.” she said as she made her way from the back of the wagon.

She took a paper napkin from her pocket and poured water from a container. She wadded the tissue into a small ball and pushed it into Tom’s nostril. She then sat down on the ground, pulling Tom with her and placed his head in her lap. She applied a gentle pressure to the side of the nose and began to gently rub his temple.

In the meantime Marianna had also gotten off the wagon, she took a handkerchief from her pocket, poured water on it and used the handkerchief to wipe the blood from Tom’s mouth at the corners.

Rebecca spoke once again. “Tom we will never be able to repay you and Leck for your unselfish act. I have never been so frightened, or grateful in all my life. I can’t even begin to comprehend the fear must less describe it” she said as the silence seemed to sustain them.

In what seemed many moments, Marianna Russell broke the silence.

“Surely this must be Leck Lenahan, the other brother who has all but filled the conversation since we left the train station at Bardstown?” 

“Forgive me Rebecca and Marianna” Elaine injected... “But where my good manners are taught to me by my beloved mother...what she would think...Ladies may I present my brother Electus Dominus...lovingly known on the farm as Leck and around the west as Major Lenahan.”

“Pleased to make your acquaintance” Leck said to the Russell ladies, doffing his floppy fedora in the manner of a European gentleman. “I have awaited your arrival with pain and consternation and I fear now that I do not have the words to express my sincere regret at the loss of your dear Aunt Ima and Uncle Gabe. All that I am able to say to you is that Gabe and I were joined at the hip from birth, I loved him and I mourn with you the loss of two of the finest people I have ever known.”

Rags jumped up on the back of the buckboard, placing his large paws on the back seat, providing a moment of levity from an otherwise taunt moment.

“And this is Rags, the dog that once saved your Uncle Gabe’s life and was until her death, your Aunt Ima’s constant companion. They all laughed and patted the big


dog as he ran from one to another cherishing the attention and the moment.

“Tom”, Marianna said, “My sister and I came to Kentucky to spend time with our only surviving relative after the untimely death of our parents. We had planned to grieve with them, getting to know and love them over the winter holidays, putting the deaths of our parents behind us before heading back to school in Philadelphia in January. Can you imagine our surprise when we arrived in Bardstown, still reeling from the loss of our parents to discover that our Aunt and Uncle had been savagely murdered? We are both still in a state of shock...and now this. Three men are dead and Tom, I am so very frightened for you and would do anything to protect you from the future and any need you may have to thwart any attack on yourself or your family.”

“I may have a partial solution.” Rebecca said. “With your approval Leck, since you were the primary person these men were after and you have a dubious reputation as a gunslinger and a soldier...why would we not all collectively agree to confirm that you... shot and killed these men who had attacked us. It just seems to me that if the killings are to stop, it must stop here in the place, on this day.”

“Well I.” Tom began.

“Rebecca is right Tom.” Leck said “and if we are all in agreement that’s the way it will remain.” 

“But Leck.” Tom objected.

“Tom I know what you are going to say. I know what you are feeling. Don’t even consider it. Let us thank Rebecca and Marianna for this solution in the best interest of our family. Remember Tom I am a soldier and I will soon return to my duties. So it ends here and now...and you, Ma, Pap, Elaine and the rest of our large family will not have to be looking over your shoulder at every sound or every shadow. Your life and the lives of our family, including our extended family (gesturing to the Russell girls) deserves that consideration and the peace that comes with it.”

“Thank the both of you for being here for us and for being so very sensitive to our feelings on this matter.” Rebecca Russell said.

“And, might I add Thomas Lenahan that you might as well prepare yourself for a return trip to Pittsburgh as escorts for two young ladies unwilling to travel alone.” Rebecca smiled at Tom and he returned the smile although it was obvious that he was quite embarrassed at the attention and smitten by the idea of traveling by train for the first time in his young life.

“Sure, sell that to my family and my twin.” he said.

“Well now that all of that is settled, let us get these hombres across their saddles and get this show down the road before dark.” Leck said.

The effort was made by all five and the now deceased bushwhackers hoisted and tied to the bellies of their horses, Leck tied Jess to the back of the buckboard and climbed into the front with Elaine leaving Tom to his adoring public in the back seat.

Leck was struck by the fact that these sisters did not resemble each other at all. Marianna, the eldest at sixteen, was unusually tall standing about five feet seven inches. She was strikingly beautiful with long dark auburn hair, big brown eyes and olive skin. She was quite thin; Leck estimated about one hundred ten pounds.

Rebecca was a contrast in color and size. She was fourteen, had blonde hair, blue eyes and very fair complexion. She was no more than five feet two inches tall and weighed no more than one hundred pounds. Both were gracious, articulate and engagingly bright.

On the trip to St. Mary’s, Leck encouraged them to share their personal background and family history. Marianna related that her father, William was a Geologist/engineer.

After striking gold in Colorado, the mother, 

Evana had gone to spend time with him for the summer. While she was there the two of them contracted cholera and both died in a few days.

At the time of the death of the parents, the girls were living with the maternal grandparents in Pittsburgh. The grandfather was a wealthy printer/publisher and the girls, were his only living heir to his vast enterprise.

“That’s the reason I have decided to study the law”, Marianna said, “Within five years I hope to be sufficiently educated to take over the business management and protect the interest of Becky and myself.”

Rebecca spoke up, “Tom, you and Christian should seriously consider going to Pittsburgh to become an apprentice in the printing do have an inside track.” She said.

“It’s a great place to live and the business would provide a wonderful career for you to take care of yourself and your family.” She said.


“It’s only me at this time” Tom said. “Christian will have to answer for himself.”

“But you will want to marry one of these days, and have children” Rebecca smiled.

“Well can’t say I haven’t thought of it, but I don’t dwell on the matter...anyone out there on the horizon. I guess I had always planned to stay here on the farm.” He said.

“Life changes Tom” Marianna said.” Just look at Becky and me...yesterday, life was just a splendid event and, now, our parents and grandparents are gone. Our beloved Aunt murdered and we are left alone.”

“You will not find a more loving and accepting family as the Lenahan’s” Elaine said reaching to the back seat she touched the hands of the girls with a sensitive reassuring touch... “And most of all, you have each other...for the rest of your young lives ...and that’s a real blessing”.

“We have always been close as sisters” Rebecca said. “But it is a bit frightening to think that your life and your future are tied to others you do not know, nor do you know their motives.”

“That’s true” Marianna said. “The business is being operated by old employees Grandpa trusted but they will not work for us forever. That is the major reason I am in such a hurry to know the law, so we will not have to be dependent on others.”

“Our brother Matt is a lawyer in Bardstown. You will be able to meet with he and his family on Sunday and talk with him at your leisure.” Leck said.

As they rode south toward Springfield the conversation continued. Tom held the handkerchief to his mouth, certain that the gun butt had broken several of his teeth in the front. He was self-conscious as to how it looked and how it would look. He smelled the sweet fragrance of the soft kerchief, and listened to the conversation and wondered if he might go to Pittsburgh. He wondered how a dirt farmer. Clod-hopper would fare in a huge city. He wondered as well what preordained moment had decided that he would go to Bardstown with Elaine...and not Christian. Suppose he had been off to the barn, outhouse, or chopping wood for Ma’s stove...would Christian have been sent and he wondered too as to what he would tell pap, ma and Christian about the killings. He had sworn never to tell anyone what actually happened but he had never lied to his father or to Ma and there was no way he could lie with a straight face to Christian.

He would definitely have to talk with Leck about this problem. He did not want to put his family at risk and that was most important.









                        ****Historical Review****


On the water, Lincoln had one of his finest moments in the stand-off between the ironclads at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay but on the ground, his boy general George B. McClellan, in the words of Lincoln, “It is called the army of the Potomac but it is only McClellan’s bodyguard, if McClellan is not using the army, I should like to borrow it for awhile.”

The relationship between the two grew testy when McClellan’s arrogance was displayed in an incident where the president went personally to McClellan’s home when he had refused to answer the President’s request for meetings. Finding McClellan away, Lincoln sat patiently waiting for his arrival. When McClellan finally arrived, he ignored the president and went to bed, leaving Lincoln to sulk back to the White House determined to remove McClellan from command at last.

After eight months of organizing and training the army, Lincoln issued a Presidential War Order for McClellan to drive directly south from the Capitol, straight to Richmond. But McClellan continued to show his disdain for the President, disparaging him as “the original gorilla”. McClellan finally yielded to the calls for action by Lincoln, Congress and the public but he would do so in his own manner.

Instead of marching directly, as the president directed, he ordered that the large army of 112,000 men be moved by water to come in behind Richmond and bypass the Confederates at Manassas. Reluctantly, Lincoln approved but ordered McClellan to leave a division behind to defend the capital. This diversion of troops would further polarize the two men, because McClellan would use it as an excuse for his failures.

But the Confederate intelligence caused them to take up the positions at Centerville, moving south to the Rappahannock River, closer to Richmond’s defense. Left behind the artillery, which had been reported to McClellan by his spy Allen Pinkerton...proved to be nothing more than logs painted black, which the press laughingly referred to as “Quaker guns.”

Undeterred, the young general simply altered his plan by taking the army further south to Fort Monroe, near the site of the ironclad battle. From there it was his plan to march up the narrow peninsula between the York and the James rivers and capture Richmond.

McClellan ordered an armada of 400 boats to move the army of the Potomac as well as: 1,200 wagons; 15,000 horses; tons of rations for the troops and hay and grain for the horses. This logistical nightmare was accomplished by Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs, who had been brought into the War Department, after Secretary of War Simon Cameron’s dismissal, and exile, by Lincoln as the Ambassador to Russia.

On April 4th, the troops landed and began the slow march through the rainsoaked, muddy, flat peninsula and through the Virginia countryside. They continued to Yorktown, the historic site where the British surrendered to General Washington’s ragged rebels. The powerful symbolism was not lost on the opposing Confederate troops. General Johnston reminding his small army that Washington had won the Revolution with less than 15,000 men and that Washington had said whenever he went to battle, he wanted only the southern boys of the mountains, who knew how to shoot straight, and fight hand-to-hand with knives, as they had done for years against the hostile Indians to settle the Appalachians.

Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston, one of the victorious generals at Bull Run, had 15,000 men entrenched at Yorktown, the number of troops had been greatly overstated by Allen Pinkerton, causing McClellan to be more cautious and unwilling to heed Lincoln’s call to attack. McClellan ordered his troops to dig-in and began a siege. Once again, his caution and the bad surveillance coming from Pinkerton gave the Confederates time to reinforce both Yorktown and Richmond.

The actual events surrounding the misrepresented surveillance, of Allen Pinkerton, were gathered throughout the surrounding community, where the bazaar events took place, by investigative reporters. In what can only be reported as one of the most daring and creative military maneuvers of the war, Jeb Stuart commanded a small cavalry unit of 1,200 men operating under the forces of General Stonewall Jackson. .Stuart (1833-1864) was a freewheeling, fearless joint hero with Robert E. Lee in the capture of John Brown at Harpers Ferry. He was considered outrageous by conventional military men, dressing in a flamboyant ostrich-plumed hat, red-lined cap, and gold spurs. Stuart commanded with a style that was equally flamboyant, maintaining a group of black minstrels and banjo players on his staff. He wrote dispatches for the London news that made him an international celebrity. But it was his military daring that thoroughly humiliated and embarrassed the Union commanders, especially his notorious ride around the monster army gathered by McClellan. in June of 1862.

For four days, Stuart led his 1,200 mounted troopers-including another young officer named John Mosby and writer John Esten Cooke, who would provide much of the literary embellishment that made Stuart’s ride so remarkable-on a reconnaissance that completely encircled the Unions positions in Virginia. While providing Jackson and Lee with invaluable information about the federal troops and their positions, Stuart’s antics convinced Allen Pinkerton (McClellan’s friend and spy) that the Confederates had brought an army of 150,000 to defend Yorktown. When, in fact there were less than 15,000 in Johnston’s, later Lee’s command. Stuart’s ride was also a propaganda coup. 



Confederate newspaper headlines boasted of his “Magnificent Achievement” and “Unparalleled Maneuver,” boosting the sagging morale of the Confederates and once again totally embarrassing the public relations and media hound, McClellan who remained bunkered down for two weeks fearing to go forward, or retreat because of the sheer magnitude of an army that was surrounding him. 

In Richmond, President Jefferson Davis was now receiving military advice from Robert E. Lee. As McClellan settled in... Lee wrote to Davis, “ I am preparing a line that I can hold with part of our forces out front, while with the rest I will endeavor to make a diversion to bring McClellan out.”

In early May, after nearly three weeks of sitting in the trenches, McClellan finally moved to attack as Lee had predicted. Lee now withdrew from Yorktown back toward the Confederate Capitol, leaving McClellan to hold an empty bag. Being the braggadocios narcissist, the pompous young general none-the-less claimed a major victory over the Confederate rear guard. The Union press enthusiastically pumped him up in the papers of the north and Lincoln swallowed hard not knowing that the real picture was far less rosy. During the seven-day conflict between the Lee and McClellan led forces, 30,000 men died with 16,000 federals and 14,000 Confederates. Richmond was saved and McClellan retreated to Washington...sounds like a Confederate victory but has been historically reported as a victory for the north.


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