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Thursday, January 31, 2013

LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI Chapter 15

Sam Was in Prison
courtesy photobucket.

Lee was quite concerned about Sam and his family and the news of Captain Jack’s death was very disturbing.  Captain Jack had been like a father to him and he owed much to him for his care.

Sam's the boat pilot’s wife, was named Claire and the daughter was called Odette. Because of the trouble they had gone through both of them were quiet almost sedate.

This was out of character for them, especially for Odette. The last time Lee had seen the girl, she was all over him, telling him when she was ready she was going to marry him.

Lee decided to find out where Sam was and if anything could be done for him. After searching for some time he finally located him in a prison at Vicksburg. It took a couple of days before he could see the Colonel in charge.  

When he was escorted in to see him he immediately recognized him as a client at Club St. Louise.  
 
Lee reminded the Colonel who he was, the young boy who liked to listen to the stories told.  After reminiscing about the club and Louise the Colonel asked how he could help him.  Lee thought over what he was going to say carefully for he didn't want to say the wrong thing.

He began by telling about his association with Sam and the events that led to him being in prison.  He told him that Sam wasn't a violent man, but had been faced with a situation where his family was threatened and had acted to protect them.  He concluded by saying any father would have done the same thing even if it meant prison for his actions.

The Colonel said I understand what you have said, and I am of the same mind, but I can't just release him for a military court must decide that.  Lee agreed it should be handled properly.

Then asked, “Don't prisoners escape all the time?  If someone was careless and he escaped then you wouldn't have failed in your duty.”

Lee continued saying, “If something like that should happen, I have a job on a small ferry that is going up river in two days, and if he had passage on it - - when we arrived in St. Louis we would leave on a train going West never to be heard of again.”

The Colonel said, “If someone was careless - - say tomorrow night, would he be able to get to the ferry without being seen?”

Lee assured him that would be the case. The Colonel said, “Perhaps it would be well for you to come by here about nine o'clock tonight.”

Lee went straight to the ferry and told the captain, we had better leave at first light tomorrow. The captain said he would be ready to go for he was nearly loaded.  Lee went to Sam's house and told the women to pack everything they could carry including some things for Sam. They didn't ask many questions but sensed an urgency of the situation.

It was dark when they reached the ferry and Lee put the women in a cabin.

Afterward he told them to go to the kitchen and fix some food for Sam as he would be hungry providing they made it.

Lee got some clothes for Sam to change into that which a river pilot might wear. He wanted him to look like a pilot in case he was seen by someone that might turn him in.

That night about nine o'clock Lee was near the prison, watching when he saw someone come out the officers quarters door. There were no guards on duty, so Sam had no trouble escaping.  He simply walked out and was met by Lee.

While Sam dressed in his pilot's garb Lee quickly explained what they were going to do. When they arrived at the ferry Sam greeted his wife and daughter and then sat down to eat like a starving man.

It was going to be a long few hours before it was light enough to tackle the river, so all they could do was wait.

To be Continued 

 

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