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AN: This is a story in three parts: The Beginning, The Journey and Home
I wish to thank my beta, Chrissymiles for her help in editing this story.
In my story the Civil War ended a week later after Robert E. Lee surrendered his troops at Appomattox Courthouse.
Summary: In this A-Team Alternate Universe Hannibal, BA, Murdock and Face are in the Union Army during the Civil War and have plans of staying together as a family once the war is over. They experience many adventures before they finally arrive to their new home in the west.
Warning: Abuse and discipline of a minor.
Battle of Bentonville, NC.
"Colonel, I can't find Face." Captain HM Murdock was close to panicking.
"Where did you see him last?"
"We were at that little pond when the cannonball hit nearby. We were all knocked out momentarily but when I came to Face was nowhere to be found. I found his drum and drumsticks nearby but no Face. I think he must have been dazed and wandered off. I searched around but didn't find any hair of him.
"There is a truce on to allow both sides to recover their wounded and dead. We will search further for him." Colonel John 'Hannibal' Smith called out to his sergeant.
"BA…Face is missing…help us search!"
BA immediately stopped what he was doing and joined in the search for their missing drummer boy, Face.
Colonel Smith commanded his own regiment of men but the two men and the missing drummer boy made up his family. He trusted them with his life and theirs with him. They were a team before Face joined them but when he did they became a family and when this war was finally over they were going to stay together. He already had a ranch bought in Montana. Hannibal's wife and BA's mother would join them for their trek to their new home.
Captain H.M. Murdock was among the few Texians to join and fight for the Union. He had seen his family wiped out by southern sympathizer renegades.
Sergeant BA Barracus was a freed negro from Ohio. He lived with his mother who baked and sold the best pies in their community. BA was the local blacksmith who loved children and who would often repair their toys just to see their smiles and hear their laughter. He had joined to help free his brothers still in slavery. BA got his nickname due to his sometimes-volatile Bad Attitude towards most officers and bullies.
The drummer boy, Templeton Peck, who was known by all of those that loved him as Face. Face was an orphan who had run away from an abusive and crowded orphanage determined to join Mr. Lincoln's Army as a drummer boy. He lied about his age and enlisted at age of nine even though on his records it said he was twelve. Face got his nickname due to his talent of talking himself out of trouble. Who could get angry at a boy with such an innocent face. He was also good at conning people, a skill he used when he was on his own. He also learned at a young age to pick locks. He was also a crack shot whenever the need arose.
Besides the Colonel, Murdock felt Face's absence the most. He and the boy had bonded so well upon meeting you would have sworn that they were brothers. BA was the protector of the young boy from anyone who would want to abuse him. Colonel Smith had been so taken with the mischievous boy that he had decided to adopt him at the end of the war.
The men searched until the order was given to move on to their next engagement in Virginia and they reluctantly had to leave their missing friend, brother and surrogate son behind but each vowed that they would return as soon as the war was over to find him.
But Face wasn't just missing he had been kidnapped. Face had wandered away from the sound and violence of the encounter that caused him to be knocked out not realizing that he was being watched by an individual who saw an opportunity to take advantage of the youth. He was a lazy and powerful man, Silas Thompson who was angry at losing his slave, Tom when Lincoln freed the slaves and thought to rectify the situation by replacing him with this 'Yankee boy'. He thought it was justice. He had waited until Face had passed out and carried him back to his farm and given him to his wife, Mary to care for.
He even thought of an excuse to answer any questions his neighbors might have if they saw the boy working on his farm. He was a young criminal working off his sentence.
"Who is this boy?" Mary asked when her husband dropped Face on a bed.
"A Yankee drummer boy. He's going to replace Tom in working this farm. Since the Yankee president freed Tom then one of his drummer boys can take his place."
"You can't do that…what if his friends come looking for him?"
"I'll hide him in the basement. The first thing you do is to take that Yankee uniform off him. You can dress him in that other set of Tom's clothes."
"But what if he has a family. Would you be so cruel as to let them believe he died in battle?"
"He's mine now. Tend to him so he can start doing Tom's chores as soon as possible."
Mary did as she was told; she knew if she didn't she could face a beating from her husband. She tended Face as best she could. She placed a cool rag on his forehead and stayed the night trying to comfort him as he cried in his sleep. "It's okay boy, you're safe now," she said even though she knew it wouldn't be for long. Eventually Face quiet down and was able to sleep the rest of the night in peace.
By the second day Face was pulled from his bed and given a bucket. "You've rested enough boy, its time you earn your keep. Now go and milk the cow, then feed the chickens, the cow and the horse. Only after you have done all of that will you be given breakfast."
Face looked at the angry man and the bucket in his hand for a moment before doing as he was told. He was still a bit dazed and didn't even know his own name. It wasn't until the next day that he realized who he was and that he didn't belong on this farm.
He went ahead and did Tom's chores once again. There was no reason for the animals to suffer but as he returned and handed the full bucket of milk to Mary he asked. "Who are you and why am I here?"
"Yes, ma'am. I know my name is Face and that I am a drummer boy in the Union army. I was injured during the Battle of Bentonville. I must have wandered off afterwards and passed out because I don't remember walking here."
"My husband found you and brought you here. He plans on keeping you to replace our slave boy, Tom who ran off after Mr. Lincoln freed the slaves."
"He can't do that! My friends will find me."
"No, they won't. They came by here while you were unconscious and my husband hid you in the basement until they left. Your army has moved on to their next engagement soon afterwards."
"NO! They wouldn't leave me!" Face cried as he ran from the room and straight into the arms of Silas Thompson.
"What's going on?"
"He knows who he is and that he doesn't belong here."
"And he thought he would run away. Well I guess I will just have to beat that notion out of him," and pulled his belt from his pants and doubled it in his hand. He dragged the struggling boy to the table and pushed him over it.
"Silas…NO!" Mary tried to protect the boy only to be backhanded and knocked to the floor.
Silas lost little time in bringing his belt down over and over on Face's backside not stopping until he grew tired and walking away. Face crumbled to the floor sobbing from the pain in his backside. After a while Face stood and walked to the door and went out to do the rest of Tom's chores.
"Colonel we can't leave. We haven't found Face, yet."
"I know Captain, but our orders are to move to Gettysburg. We just can't stay any longer to search. We have to hope that wherever Face is he is safe and once this war is over we can return to look for him. I'm sorry H.M."
After looking once more over his shoulder in hopes that his little brother might be walking up turned and followed his Colonel as their regiment left. 'I hope the colonel is right about you being safe Facey.'
But Hannibal was wrong this time; Face was in the hands of a lazy sadist who spent most of the day drinking in town leaving the farm to be cared for by his wife and Face. The first time he left Face tried to escape. He got as far as the road when he met Silas who had returned because he left his wallet at home. Face took one look at Silas and turned to run.
"Oh, no you don't boy. You will regret trying to leave me." He grabbed Face as he tried to run pulling him up over the saddle in front of him. As soon as he got him home he pushed him off and watched as Face fell to the ground. He dismounted grabbing Face before he could run and pushed him over a hitching rail. With one hand holding the boy in place he brought his riding crop down several times on Face's backside.
Face tried to keep from crying out but after a half dozen licks he started to yell with each additional lick. After Silas, had given him a total of twelve licks he let him drop to the ground. As he laid in the dirt Face heard the man say.
"You have ten minutes to get to work or I'll be back and give you more."
Face continued to sob in the dirt but eventually pulled himself together and got up. He winced as he gingerly walked to the hen house to collect eggs and finished the rest of Tom's chores for the day. That night Silas led him to the barn. "I can't trust you boy, so from now on you will sleep out here and to make sure you don't get away I will chain you to the stall."
Face was given a blanket and pushed into a vacant stall filled with hay. Once he was laying down Silas put leg iron on one ankle and chained him to the end of the stall.
"You have enough room to walk a few feet but not enough to leave the barn. I'll awake you in the morning for you to do your chores."
"What about supper?"
"After your escape attempt you don't deserve any supper…go to bed!"
Face knew it wouldn't do any good to argue and tried to sleep and after a while he did fall into a restless sleep. He was starving by the time Silas arrived to free him.
He handed the boy a bucket. "Milk and feed the cow and then come in for your breakfast."
Face did as he was told and came back in with a full bucket which he gave to Mary. "Sit down and eat, son." She said kindly as she handed him a plate of eggs with a biscuit. "Hurry now before Silas comes back. He may have something to say about what you are eating. He never allowed Tom to eat this well."
Face inhaled the food finishing them in record time and wishing he could have seconds. He was surprised when Mary handed him a couple of biscuits. "Hide these from Silas and eat them when you are alone. If you get hungry I'll try and sneak more to you after he leaves."
Face thanked her and returned to feed the rest of the animals and to pull weeds in the garden. He was hard at work when Silas came in for his breakfast.
It was an hour later that Silas came out. "Boy bring me my horse and hurry I have business in town."
Face hurried as fast as his abused backside would allowed. When he took too long to accomplish Silas' order Silas was forced to saddle his own horse. He struck Face as he left, "I said to hurry!"
Silas mounted and looked down at Face. "Take off your shoes, I'll see if you being shoeless will keep you from running."
Face had no recourse but to do as he was ordered and handed the shoes to Silas who looped them around the saddle horn and rode away.
While it had only been less than a month that Face had been held captive it seemed like forever as he tried to hold on until his friends returned. He hoped that his friends were safe as they continue to fight for freedom for everyone. He heard through Silas that the Rebels were winning but knew that this couldn't be true but wisely kept his thoughts to himself.
The Colonel led his men against the Rebs at the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse on April 8th and after overwhelming odds General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of North Virginia Army to Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant. The Rebel President, Jefferson Davis capitulated a few days later ending the war officially on April, 10, 1865.
On April 11th Hannibal resigned along with Captain Murdock and Sergeant Barracus. As soon as they were released officially from the army the three men gathered their possessions and headed back to Bentonville in search for their missing drummer boy, Face. "This time we will search until he is found." Hannibal said as he rode out with Murdock and BA with him. They rode for most of the day stopping only for a few hours to rest and feed the horses before riding on. They made good time and rode into Bentonville, N. C. a week later tired but still ready to continue their search.
The news of the South's surrender had taken four days to get around to the people of Bentonville. Face found out the news and began to plan his escape. He knew his friends would be on the road back here to search for him and he wanted to at least meet them on the way. He started to hide provisions under the hay in the stall where he was forced to sleep. All he needed was a canteen and he would be set. He had found a piece of wire that he thought he could pick the leg iron cuff with and free himself during the night. He figured to leave as soon as Silas went to sleep. What he didn't count on was Silas taking the South's loss out on him.
"So you think your army is better than ours," Silas walked in carrying a riding crop. He had been drinking and he was a mean drunk. Face had learned that the hard way when he had been beaten whenever the man was drunk and anything ticked him off.
Face was pulled up and pushed out of the stall and over a nearby bale of hay. Then without warning Silas began to beat him with the crop. Face struggled as the crop came down again and again on his backside and lower back, drawing blood in some places. "This will show you what I think about the surrender you Yankees forced General Lee to accept." Suddenly the blows stopped as Silas fell forward to lie still on the floor. Face turned around to see Mary with a piece of firewood in her hands.
"Hurry before he wakes. I'll fix you a bag of food to take and you can take his canteen. I know you are hurting but this is your best chance at escape." Face realized that Silas in his hurry to whip him had forgotten to chain him.
Face walked all night as his friends were travelling closer to Bentonville. He hoped he could find them before Silas found him. The fear of Silas spurred him on stopping only when he could go no further. He bore the pain of his abused backside as long as he could before he had to lay down and rest.
When he awoke, he was so stiff but after taking a bite of a biscuit and a drink of water he forced himself to go on. He would walk as far as he could before he had to rest and eat something. It was later afternoon as he paused when he heard the baying of hounds and knew he was in trouble and began to run. He ran until he could run no further and gasping for breath he fell to the ground to await his fate.
First the hounds who had chased him appeared and then Silas along with another man rode up. Silas carried the bull whip he threatened to use on him if he tried to escape again.
"I'm going to whip you good this time, boy. Not only did you try to escape but you attacked me last night."
The other man spoke up then. "This can't be the harden criminal you told me about when you came over to borrow my dogs? This is just a child; he looks to be the same age as my son Jack."
"It doesn't matter…he's mine and he ran away. You can go home now, thanks for the use of your dogs," Silas said as he waved the other man away and approach Face with the whip in hand. As he started to strike out he heard,
"I will shoot you if you try and whip this boy and I don't care if you are my brother-in-law!"
Silas looked up in shock to see a pistol pointed at him. "You can't be serious Jacob. What would your sister say if she knew you threatened to shoot me for wanting to punish my property?"
"This boy isn't your property…"
"No, he isn't!" a strong voice spoke up. While the men were talking, they hadn't noticed the three union soldiers ride up. The man who had spoken had white hair and intense blue eyes and they were all holding pistols pointed at Silas.
"Captain, see to Face."
One of the three holstered his pistol and rushed to Face's side. "Facey we found you." Face began to sob as HM held him. He was exhausted and everything hurt.
H.M. held the canteen he found next to the boy. "Take small sips, kid while I check you out."
Face nodded and couldn't prevent his cries of pain as H.M. ran his hands lightly over his little brother's body. He carefully pulled up the shirt and saw bruises. He noticed at once the blood stains on the back of the boy's pants. "Did he do this, Facey?"
Face nodded. "Last night he blamed me for Lee's surrender and took a riding crop to my backside," he whispered.
"Where are your shoes, Face?"
"He took them from me to try and stop me from escaping."
"Your feet are cut and bruised. Can you stand?"
"Not without pain, Harry. But I had to get away no matter what. I knew you guys would be looking for me."
"Colonel, he's in a bad way. He needs a doctor to see to his numerous hurts all caused by this man," pointing to Silas. "He won't be able to ride. His backside is too torn up."
"Is this boy your son?" Jacob asked curiously as he saw the love radiating from the older man towards the boy.
"No, not yet but I plan to adopt him as soon as possible now that the war is officially over. He was our drummer boy who went missing during the Battle of Bentonville. We searched for him as long as we could before the army had to move on. In fact, we went to this man's farm and asked if he had seen our comrade and we were told no. Obviously, he hid the boy from us but for what reason we do not yet know. I'm Colonel John Smith, the younger man with the boy is Captain H.M. Murdock and my Sargent is BA Barracus. To me the boy is the son I never had and to the Captain and Sargent he is a little brother. We are family."
"My name is Jacob Phillips and if I had known that we were after this boy instead of the harden criminal I was led to believe we were after I would have never let Silas talked me into using my hounds to chase him down. If I may Colonel my farm is on the way to Bentonville. I'll ride there and bring back a wagon to transport him to my house where my wife can tend to his wounds until the doctor arrives to take care of him. That way he won't have to travel too far in pain. My wife nursed many an injured man during the war and is quite capable to take care of the boy."
"I thank you for your kindness and when you send for the doctor also send for the sheriff. I want this man arrested for kidnapping and his treatment of my boy."
Jacob nodded and hurried away leaving his brother-in-law to the mercy of the men.
"Jacob you can't leave me. What if they attack me while you are gone?"
"You wouldn't have to worry if you had treated the boy better. What they do to you now would be justice in my book but I don't think they want anything other than justice for what you did to their comrade."
"Colonel he was carrying these." BA said as he showed his Colonel the leg irons he found in Silas' saddlebags.
Hannibal's eyes hardened even more and he figured out what their use would have been if they had been late in getting there. "Put them on him and make sure they are tight and after that search him for the key!"
Silas was ready to protest of having BA search him but swallowed his words as he saw the intent to violence in the Sargent's eyes if he had. Soon he was wearing the leg irons and fuming as BA searched him for the keys which he found in his vest pocket.
Silas turned to face the Colonel and sneered. "You have no power over me. The war is over after all. If the Sheriff wants to talk to me he can find me at home." It was as he turned to get on his horse that Hannibal spoke again.
"You take one more step and I will shoot you…the choice is yours!"
Silas looked at the anger in the Colonel's eyes and stopped moving.
"Sargent! See if you can find something to tie this man up! Check his saddle bags and see if he has anything of use."
"Sure Colonel," replied BA as he hurried to Silas horse to search. Here turned with a rope and had no trouble tying Silas to a nearby tree.
Once they saw that Silas was tied and unable to flee easily the men turned their attention back to Face's comfort. "Let's move Face under those trees. We will use our bedrolls to soften the ground for him and wait for Mr. Phillips to return."
BA moved to pick Face up while Hannibal and HM took the bedrolls and made the softest pallet they could for Face to lay upon. "Colonel he is as light as a feather. Face has never been that heavy but he is much lighter now."
Once Face was lying on his side Hannibal kneeled by his side. "Face can you tell us what happened until we found you?"
"I remember the cannonball hitting and waking a few moments later dazed. I must have wandered off before falling. My next memory is of a kind face looking down on me and putting a cool rag on my forehead and comforting me with her words before falling back to sleep. The next morning, I was pulled from my bed and had a bucket thrust at me and told to earn my keep by milking the cow and feeding the animals by a harsh voice. It seemed like I was walking in a dream for that day not knowing where I was or who I was. It wasn't until the following day that it all came back to me. I learned that the kind face belonged to Mary and harsh voice was her husband Silas. She also told me that you guys had come looking but Silas had hidden me."
"But what reason did he have to hide you, kid? I mean we would have paid him well for finding you and taking care of you while you weren't yourself. Why did he lose all of that to hide you like he did?"
"When President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and freed all of the slaves his young slave ran away. He had been looking for someone to take his place and I had the misfortune to be that person. He thought it a great joke that since the Yankee President had caused his slave to be freed then a Yankee drummer boy could take his place." Face began to sob as he explained as exhaustion took over.
Hannibal reacted at once and pulled Face to him as he carefully held him as the boy sobbed himself to an uneasy sleep. "BA keep guard on the prisoner, even with leg irons on he could escape if we don't watch. There is no way he is escaping justice for what he did to Face." Hannibal ordered in a whisper as not to wake the boy.
BA got up without a word and stalked back to where Silas had been left. He drew his pistol and aimed it at the older man just daring him to try something.
It was about an hour later that Jacob returned and he wasn't alone. His wife upon hearing about an injured boy had insisted on coming, especially after hearing that her brother-in-law was responsible for the injuries. She was off the seat before the wagon had come to a complete stop. "Where is the boy?" she asked BA who pointed towards the trees.
"Martha, you have to help me!" Silas called as Martha ran by.
"You've beyond contempt," and continued on to Face.
"Colonel Smith I'm Martha and if you would allow me I think I can help your son."
Hannibal only nodded and carefully put Face down and stepped back. "Anything you can do to help him would be most appreciated Ma'am."
Martha gently placed her hand on his forehead to measure his temperature. "He's burning up. Something is causing an infection." She carefully pulled back the shirt to find that his back was covered in stripes in different stages of healing. She lay her hand on the skin and felt the heat. "I don't see any infection here," and pulled the pants down to see that most of the damage was there. She saw open wounds that could only be made with a thin instrument of some kind. She suddenly got up and walked to Silas.
"What did you use on him to cause such wounds?"
Silas shook his head and wouldn't answer until BA moved closer and said, "Answer her or I will beat the answer out of you!"
"A riding crop!" he spat out finally.
She returned to Face's side and gently probed the area seeing bits of cloth impeded in the flesh. "This is what is causing the infection, Colonel Smith. Silas used a riding crop on your son's backside and the pants he was wearing were too thin and the crop was able to tear and forcing some of the cloth into the wound. We need to get him home and have those bits of cloth removed and then clean the wounds completely. The doctor should be there by the time we return and he can do that and more importantly give him something to ease his pain. We have placed a mattress in the wagon to make the journey back to the farm easier on your boy."
Hannibal thanked her and gently picked Face up noting like Ba had earlier that Face had lost weight since his confinement with Silas. That would have to be addressed as well as the abuse his boy had received. Once Face was lying as comfortably as possible they got ready to leave.
"BA tie Silas to the back of the wagon alongside of his horse and they can walk back to the Steven's farm together. It will give him a taste of what he would have put Face through if he had his way with our boy!"
With a smile on his face BA had no trouble with the struggling Silas and soon they were on their way. After nearly tripping a few times Silas finally got the hang of walking in leg irons and they made good time. By the time they had arrived the doctor and sheriff were there waiting.
"Sam I need you," Martha called out to the doctor who hurried to her side. "This boy has been beaten repeatedly and is running a fever. Once you see his backside you will understand why there is an infection. If someone could carry the boy in, so we can begin to work on him."
BA was there in a minute to carry his little brother in with HM following closely behind. He had to be there to comfort him if needed. Jacob and Hannibal stayed to talk to the sheriff. Hannibal knew Face would be in good hands until he was able to join them.
"I DEMAND THAT THESE LEG IRONS BE REMOVED!" screamed Silas.
"Colonel Smith, I'm Ben Matthews. I'm the Sheriff of Bentonville and the surrounding area. I understand that you have a complaint to make."
Hannibal looked confused for a moment until Jacob hastened to explain. "I sent my son Billy to get both the doctor and sheriff. I told him to tell Ben that you had a complaint against Silas. That is how he knows."
"Yes I have several charges to place against this man. First he kidnapped my drummer boy. He found the boy after a cannonball hit dazed him and took him to his farm to replace the slave who ran away after President Lincoln freed the slaves. Second he whipped him repeatedly, that can be seen by the marks on his body and the current beating caused the fever he is now running."
"Did the boy tell you this Colonel?"
"He told me and my men about the abduction but not about the beatings. When he awakes I'm sure he will tell you everything he suffered through at the hands of this man." Hannibal admitted.
"I can confirm everything the man has said about Silas, Ben." It was Mary. She had just arrived with her nephew James. Her older brother, Jacob had sent his oldest son to bring his baby sister back home and they had arrived unannounced. She had walked up on the conversation.
Jacob hurried to her side and seeing the bruise on her cheek started towards Silas.
"I should have annulled the wedding since she was underage but Mary convinced me that you were an honorable man and I gave into her wishes. She was so in love with you and you abused her." He started to raise his fists only to have Mary stop him.
"He's not worth it Jacob and my testimony of his abuse of the boy should be enough to send him away for a long time."
"Her testimony can't be used Sheriff," Silas was quick to point out.
"Yes, it can. The law only states that a wife can't be made to testify against her husband it says nothing about her volunteering the information. Now Mary, please tell me about Silas' treatment of this boy?"
"With pleasure but first Col. Smith I'm so sorry that I didn't speak up earlier about Silas' hiding your drummer boy but at that time I was deathly afraid of what he would do to me if I told."
"Now I draw courage from your boy's repeatedly attempts at freedom. He fought for his freedom in the only way he could and that was through escape attempts. He suffered for his attempts but he wouldn't stop trying. If he could do that then I can tell you anything you want to know."
"What did he do to my son, Mary. You are the kind soul who treated him when Silas brought him to you the first day?"
"Yes…he was calling out for Hannibal, Harry and BA constantly until he finally fell into a fitful sleep. He should have rested longer but Silas was too lazy to do Tom's chores any longer and pulled that poor boy out of the bed to milk the cow. You could tell that he was still in a daze but he did what he was told that first day without causing any problems. The problems started the next day when he woke realizing that something was wrong and voicing his concerns to me. He was so distraught upon learning that you all had to leave him here that he ran out and unfortunately ran into Silas who decided that he was trying to run away and whipped him with his belt before sending him out to do the chores. The poor boy could barely walk his backside hurt so bad. From that moment on you could see a change come over the boy. He would wait until he had gotten over the beating before trying to escape and he would get away only to be caught eventually by Silas who would drag him back and beat him some more. After a while Silas decided that one meal a day would keep him too weak to run and when that didn't work he took his shoes and then the next time he chained him to a stall in the barn. I tried to help by feeding him more whenever Silas was away or drunk but it wasn't enough and I would be beaten if he caught me sneaking him a biscuit or two."
"He beat you, too?"
Mary nodded. "That mainly only happened after he had been drinking. He's a mean drunk, Ben."
"I take it that Tom was his slave who he replaced Face with?"
"That's our drummer boy's nickname, Ma'am."
"Tom was the name of the slave that Silas bought to originally do only chores but ending up during everything so Silas didn't have to. Tom was about fifteen when he left. I wish him the best."
"What can you tell me about that last beating, Mary?"
"He was drunk and had just come back from town with the news of Lee's surrender and the war being over. He was so mad that he took the bad news out on the boy. I heard screaming coming from the barn and went to look. He had the boy over a hay bale whaling away on his backside with a riding crop and the boy was screaming with pain that I took a piece of firewood and hit Silas on the head and knocking him out. I knew that even though Face was hurt this was his best chance at escape. I fixed him a bag of food and gave him a canteen before sending him on his way. I couldn't give him back his shoes. Silas had thrown them away. I knew he couldn't ride and prayed that this time he could escape my husband. I then went to bed."
"From the bruise on your cheek I gather that your husband took his anger out on you?"
"Yes, but being so drunk he didn't know that I was the one who struck him from behind. He thought the boy had somehow gotten the drop on him and did it. He accused me of helping him get away later but was in too big of a hurry to catch him to do much more that slap me. I'm sure that he would have corrected that later if he returned without him. I decided not to stay and wait. So I packed my few valuable and left. I let the animals out to fend for themselves. I did milk the cow before leaving and started walking towards Jacob's place. My nephew James met me in the buggy and brought me here."
"Thank you Mary, I now have enough to arrest him and take him to jail. The judge won't be back for until a week from today. Your son should be well enough to testify and with both Martha's and Sam's testimony I'm sure Silas will be found guilty and sent to prison.'
The men were so focused on Mary and her words that they didn't see Martha leave the house but they heard her cry of anguish and turned to watch as she picked up the handle of a broom and rush to Silas swinging it against his back with as much strength as he could. Her actions were so unexpected that it took the men by surprise until the Sheriff woke up to the fact that his prisoner was being beaten by the lady of the house and pulled her off.
"Martha, what's gotten into you?"
"It's that poor boy..." she began only to be interrupted by Hannibal.
"Is something wrong with my boy?"
"No, your boy will recover. Dr. Daniels had a little laudanum left after treating the wounded of the Battle of Bentonville and he was able to sedate the boy so we could clean his wounds. He didn't deserve any of what Silas did to him. It's just after seeing his wounds and scars that I snapped and that is why I attacked Silas. Why don't you join your men and watch over him? I know that when he awakes he will take comfort in having you three close."
As soon as Hannibal left Ben turned to Jacob and asked. "The sooner we can get him in jail the sooner we can relax. Can I borrow your wagon? I don't trust him on horseback."
Jacob nodded and soon was driving the wagon carrying his brother-in-law to jail as the Sheriff rode alongside.
Three days had gone by and Face was released from the bed and house. Jack was showing him around the place. The two boys had hit it off at once. While he was laid up in bed Jack had come in with a checker board and they played endless games against each other and occasionally against Hannibal and H.M. It was nice to hear Face laugh again.
"I have something I want to show you." Jack had stated as he led Face to the nearby pasture. "He's my pride and joy. I raised him from a colt although I had to hide him in the later years of the war from soldiers of both sides or they would have taken him for sure." Face looked out and saw the prettiest horse he had ever seen.
"What type of color is that?"
"He's a black roan with spots on his rump. The breed is appaloosa, and new breed that they are breeding in North Carolina. So he is a black roan appaloosa. His name is Dandy. Do you want to ride him? He broke to saddle. That is if you can sit comfortably."
"It didn't hurt when I sat for breakfast today."
Soon the two boys were riding around the farm. They started at a walk and then when Face was okay with it they sped up.
"Face! Captain have you seen Face?"
H.M. smiled and pointed behind them. "They have been riding for the last hour Colonel. Jack has taken him to his favorite spots. I think they are planning on going fishing tomorrow. What was it that you wanted him for?"
"Nothing. I just hadn't seen him since breakfast and was worried about him, but seeing that he is with Jack and having a good time…all is okay."
For the next few days Face was constantly in the company of Jack and Dandy. He would bring him apples and carrots and soon as soon as Dandy saw Face he would come running. It was good that Face had a good friend in Jack, someone his own age to be with. Hannibal saw this interaction and approved although he knew that soon his little guy would grieve the loss of Jack and Dandy when it came time for them to leave. It came to a total surprise for them all when one night after supper Jack told Face.
"Dandy is yours Face."
"You're giving him to me…why?"
"Because you are my best friend and you will be leaving soon. I want you to have something to remember me by and Dandy loves you. You two have bonded so much that he comes whenever he sees you. He never did that with me no matter how many apples I gave him. It would be wrong for you to leave without him."
Face was speechless. He didn't know what to do. He looked at Jack's father to see if it was true that the horse was his. Jacob smiled and nodded. "Yes, we talked it over and I agree with my son. You two are meant to be together."
"I've never had a real friend my own age or been given such a magnificent present before. Thank you, Jack," and then he whooped with delight and ran from the table outside with Jack right behind him.
"Jacob that horse is expensive, please let me pay for him." Hannibal said as he started to pull his wallet out.
"No, he is a gift and it would cheapen the gift if money is exchanged."
Hannibal nodded. "You do know that we are going to have a hard time getting him to sleep in his own bed tonight. He's going to want to sleep next to the horse."
"Yep, but he won't be alone because if I know my son, he will be sleeping next to him. They will be okay."
Hannibal knew that the kids would be safe because if he knew BA he would be out there as well.
On the day before the trial Hannibal had decided to go into Bentonville to do a bit of shopping for their journey to their new home and to get a saddle and bridle for Dandy. It was a pretty day when the two popinjays arrived in their buggy in hopes of trying to talk Jacob into selling some of his land at a price under it worth. BA was shoeing Dandy with new shoes while Face looked on and Hannibal was asking to borrow Jacob's wagon.
"As soon as the trial is over we must be heading out. We need to stop by and pick up BA's mother in Ohio before stopping by to get my wife and our home ready to sell. We are going to need some supplies to get is there. Face will need some clothing of his own and then get Dandy a new saddle and bridle."
"No problem, take the wagon and I'm sure that Jack will want to come along…." His train of thought came to an end when the buggy came to a stop in front of them. Two men stepped out. One was white and the other black. The white man introduced himself as Thomas Collins and his companion as Willie Miller. Miller looked around and spying BA shoeing a horse wandered over there as Collins began to talk.
"Mr. Jacob Phillips?"
"I'm here to help you out in these days after the war. I'm sure that your farm as suffered while you were at war and probably owe money at the general store because of it. If you would sell me five hundred acres of land I can give you top dollar."
"Slow down there Mr. Collins. For one thing, I didn't fight in the war so I was here to take care of the place along with my wife and workers."
"Don't you mean your slaves Mr. Phillips. I did see that big black shoeing the horse as we drove up."
"He's not a slave and I own no slaves. I don't believe in slavery. I pay my workers well. I have no debt and no reason to sell any of my land."
This wasn't going as Mr. Collins thought and his companion wasn't getting anywhere with BA either.
"Are you being paid for shoeing that horse?" Willie Miller asked as he walked up.
BA scowled and said "No!" before returning to the task at hand.
Willie frowned as he returned to where Collins was. He had caught only the later part of the conversation and jumped in. "You say that you didn't own slaves? Then who is he? He tells me that he isn't being paid for the shoeing. Do you know that it is against the law not to pay your black workers? Slavery has ended."
"He isn't and has never been a slave and if you don't believe me, then ask him." Hannibal said as he hid his smile.
Both men walked up to BA who had his back to them. Collins remarked, "My good man, you do realize that you are free and do not have to do anything your young master asks any longer."
BA turned quicker than either man could have realized and before Collins could say another word he found himself lifted to face the angry face of BA. "Did you just say what I think you said…that I was a slave?"
Collins nodded. "You just say the word and I'll help you get what you deserve from this man for continuing to enslave you."
BA shook him savagely before throwing him to the ground. "What gives you the right to assume that I was a slave? I was born free and raised free in Ohio and if you can't understand that I will let my fists tell you again!"
Hannibal walked up about then. "Like my sergeant has already said, he was born in Ohio with his mother in a settlement of free black citizens. He was a blacksmith by trade and lends his services as he sees fit. The boy who you thought was his young master was the drummer boy of our regiment. I am Colonel John Smith and I fought under the command of General U.S. Grant in the war. Along with a Captain H.M. Murdock we have become family and if you still can't understand I'm afraid that my sergeant will just have to beat it in to you."
The two men looked at each other and made the wise decision to try their luck elsewhere and got in their buggy and drove away.
AN: The scene with the carpetbaggers was based on a scene from the movie, "The Undefeated," with John Wayne and Rock Hudson. At the time of this story Appaloosas, as a horse breed wasn't recognized, but I changed the history so I could include the breed in the story. I always liked the breed and thought Face would, too.
"Well, BA is Dandy ready to go?"
"He's got four new shoes and is just ready to show them off." BA answered with a smile.
"Where is he going to show off his new shoes?" asked Face.
"Why into town, of course. If you want to accompany him then get him saddled and put a bridle on him. I'm sure that Mr. Phillips won't mind you borrowing one of his saddles this last time and we can get this show on the road."
Face started to the barn with Dandy following behind him.
"Jacob if we can borrow your wagon to stock up on supplies before we leave I would be most obliged."
Jacob Phillips nodded. "I'll help you harness the horses."
"By the way, where is Jack. I think this is the first time I haven't seen the boys together since Face was deemed free to leave the bed."
"He got up early with your Captain to go fishing. It seems that your boy just didn't take to it like Jack had hoped. Murdock decided to go in Face's place. I expect them back any time now. They bite best in the early morning." Jacob was quick to explain.
By the time that the wagon was harnessed and Dandy saddled Jack and Murdock were walking into the courtyard with a mess of fish between them. "I see that you two were lucky this morning. You have enough fish to feed all of us."
"That was the plan Colonel." Murdock said as he took in the wagon and saddled Dandy to add. "Are you going somewhere Colonel?"
"To town, you are welcomed to come along after you clean the fish Captain. You too, Jack if your dad approves."
"Can I Dad? I'll be on my best behavior."
Jacob could no more say no to his youngest then could Hannibal to Face. "Of course, but first go wash up and change your shirt for a clean one. I'll take care of cleaning the fish this time. After all, if you two can catch our supper the least I can do is clean them."
Jack hurried inside with Murdock on his heels, he decided that he could do with some quick cleaning and clean clothes as well. Within the hour they were on their way to town. Murdock rode in the wagon with Hannibal with the boys riding alongside. BA decided to stay into town, although before they left he had a quick word with Murdock and you could see the exchanging of money between them.
Bentonville was a medium size town. Among the stores lining the main street was a hotel, general store, bank, land office and post office. Across the street the Sheriff's office/jail, saddler and sign maker's shop could be found. Towards the end of the street was the livery and blacksmith with the cemetery at the end.
The combination church and school was found on the hill behind the main street as well as the doctor's office and residential area where many of the towns' people lived.
The rail depot was found beyond the school.
The first place they hit upon arriving into town was the general store. Face had barely tied Dandy's reins to the hitching post when Jack pulled him by the arm into the store. "You have got to try these…they are the best candy in the world." Was the only thing that Jack would tell him as they entered the store.
"Mrs. Sullivan," Jack called, "this is my best friend and he's never had a praline."
The wife of the owner of the store, Nancy Sullivan hurried to the candy counter. "Then you will just have to try one, on the house young sir." She replied as she handed him light brown disk. "Try it, it is sweet."
Face tentatively took a bite and then devoured it within seconds. "That was delicious. Can I have another?"
"You will have to pay for it, my dear."
"I'll have to wait until I buy my gifts. I want to be sure that I have enough money. Thank you for the treat Mrs. Sullivan."
What is your friend's name, Jack?"
"His nickname is Face, Mrs. Sullivan. I don't rightly know his real name." Jack had to admit.
"You come by your nickname honestly, youngster. Okay, Face what can I help you with?"
"I want to buy Mrs. Phillips and Mrs. Thompson a present. Do you know something they might like?"
"I know just the thing for Martha. Every time she comes into the store she heads for the jewelry counter to look at the same necklace but never buys it. She always gets something for one of her children instead. Here let me show you," Mrs. Sullivan said as she held out a necklace made up of green beads with a center gem.
Face took one look at it as he imagined it around her neck and nodded. "I'll take it," and then looking around at the other jewelry on the counter picked out one with blue and white beads. "And I would like this one as well."
Mrs. Sullivan was quick to take both necklaces and wrap them in separate brown paper. On one she printed a small letter 'g' so Face wouldn't confuse them. "Was there anything else?"
After and quick chat with Jack Face requested a large tin of pipe tobacco. Mrs. Sullivan led him to the case where the tobacco products were held. "These are what I have…they are ranked from cheapest too expensive. Do you have a preference?"
"Which one smells the best?'
"I have some from Maryland which is supposed to have a sweet scent. How much do you wish to buy?"
"Two tins. They are for Mr. Phillips."
Mrs. Sullivan quickly added the price of the tobacco to Face's bill and watched as he pulled out a box of cigars. "Are these a good brand?"
"Yes, our Banker, Mr. Thomas buys them and remarks on their flavor."
"Will you add them to my bill as well."
"Are you finished, or is there more you want to buy?"
"Just a few more items, please." And wandered to the centered display of books. Several had bright and exciting covers and he picked a couple out and handed them to Mrs. Sullivan before wandering finally to the Candy Counter. As he looked over the selections he whispered to Jack to pick out the candies his brothers like the best while he did the same. In the end, he bought fifty cents worth of molasses candy for James and fifty cents worth of lemon drops for Billy. He bought a selection of Jack's favorites for BA before adding several pieces of pralines to the total and waited for Mrs. Sullivan to add up the total. It came to twelve dollars and fifty cents. He handed her one of his twenty-dollar gold pieces and waited for his change.
Hannibal and Murdock had stood back and watched their kid make his selections wondering what he was up to. They knew he wanted to get the Phillips and Mary something for taking care of him but puzzled at his other selections. "You don't think he is buying too much, do you Hannibal? I didn't know that Mr. Phillips smoked cigars, too."
"I don't know but now that he has finished I'm going to grab him so we can outfit him for the journey. Wasn't there something he wanted you to get for him…a surprise for Jack?"
"Yep, and I already checked with Mr. Phillips who gave his permission although he feels that Face shouldn't spend so much on a gift."
Hannibal nodded and went to Face. "If you are finished spending your money we need to get you some clothes for the journey."
"What's wrong with me wearing my uniform?"
"Face that uniform will eventually get dirty and will need to be washed. You need something to wear in the meantime."
"I hate trying on clothes," he whined as he was led to the clothing department.
Mrs. Sullivan was there waiting. "Can I be of any help?"
"Yes, ma'am my boy needs some clothing. We will soon be traveling to St. Louis and what he has won't last the journey. What do you suggest in trousers?"
"You will need something sturdy. I have some pants made with canvas and denim that should last. What size does he wear?"
"That's the problem, I don't know. I guess he will have to be measured."
Against his will Face was quickly measured and outfitted in three pairs of pants and three shirts. Along with the pants and shirts Hannibal purchased several pairs of undergarments and socks, a couple of bandanas, a pair of boots, a vest, a light jacket and a heavy jacket. He also purchased a slicker and a hat. "I think that should do it for now. If you wouldn't mind packaging those up I will pay the bill."
Soon the wagon was filling up with both Hannibal's and Face's purchases. Hannibal also purchased barrels of flour, sugar and cornmeal as his gift to the Phillips in feeding them since Face was recuperating at their home.
"Come on kid, lets buy you a saddle and bridle for Dandy," and walked out knowing that Face and Jack weren't too far behind.
Once Jack had left HM started to look for the gift Face had asked him to buy for Jack. A Spenser Carbine. It was a good firearm one that their cavalry had used during the war and it was lighter than most. Jack would have no trouble in handling it. He also picked up a second Spenser Carbine for Face along with several boxes of ammunition. He knew that the boy might need the protection the gun would give him if they ran into trouble. As he headed back to the counter to pay for his purchases HM's eye fell on the book display as well but instead of the dime novels that Face had bought he picked up a larger book. It sounded that it might be interesting to the kid and bought it as well. The title of the book was "Adventures of Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain.
While paying for his purchases Murdock asked where he could get something engraved and was directed to the sign maker's shop just down from the saddler's. Murdock thanked him and taking his purchases left the store. He left the book in the wagon and took both firearms with him. As he started past the saddler's he paused and went in to purchase two more items to go along with the carbines before moving on to the sign maker's shop.
Hannibal carried the saddle and bridle that Jacob had lend them and put them in the wagon as Face led the newly saddled and bridled Dandy back to the hitching post. "Are we ready to leave. Hannibal?"
"Not yet kid, I think that the Captain isn't finished with his shopping and that will give you time to get a haircut. I want you looking your best for court tomorrow."
"Haircut? What's wrong with my hair, it's just the way I like it."
"Well, it's not the way I want it so come on it won't take long," Hannibal said in his colonel, not to be disobeyed voice.
"No!" Face replied defiantly as he turned to go back into the store. He still had some coins he could spend and that was more pleasurable to him then getting his hair cut.
Hannibal stopped in his tracts at the deliberate disobedience from the boy. "I can make it an order, Drummer Boy Peck!"
"Yes, sir, if I was still a drummer boy under your command; but the war is over and I don't have to obey you."
"Yes you do as long as you are with me and that puts you under my command."
"Then maybe I shouldn't…" Face paused as Murdock leaned forward and whispered in his ear.
"Unless you want another over the knee session with BA, I would apologize to Hannibal and do as he says, if I were you."
Murdock had seen the argument and the shocked look on Jack's face and hurried to catch the last part and acted at once.
Hannibal had watched with amazement as Face's eyes had gotten wide before he finished his statement. "I'm sorry Colonel. I didn't mean what I said earlier. I just didn't want a haircut and got mad when you were forcing one on me. I shouldn't have said those things to you no matter what the argument was about and I apologize."
Hannibal looked from Face to Murdock and back to Face vowing to get to the bottom of this as soon as possible. "That's okay, son. I forgive you; now let's do something about that unruly hair of yours."
Jack spoke up after getting over the shock of his friend talking back to the man who was like a father to him. "It won't be that bad Face. The barber is a nice man and he will cut it however the Colonel wants it cut. If you agree Col. Smith, he can cut it like mine. It isn't all that short just trimmed up better."
"What do you say Face. I won't have a problem with you if your hair is cut like Jack's."
Face nodded and ran ahead with Jack leaving Hannibal and Murdock to walk behind but by the time he arrived he found Face already seated and the barber about to start cutting. He noticed the tense look on Jack's face and cleared his voice.
When the barber looked up Hannibal said. "Ignore whatever he told you and cut his hair like Jack's."
When he caught the defeated look in the kid's face he knew Face had told the barber something different. 'I'm going to have to have a talk with him about following my orders,' Hannibal thought as he sat down to wait.
"I'll be right back," Murdock whispered. "I've got something to pick up for the kid before we leave."
While waiting, Hannibal noticed a bathhouse next door and decided to put it to use tomorrow before the trial began and knew that he would probably have another fight on his hands to get Face in the tub and clean. He wanted the kid to be clean and neat for his time before the judge. He would have to learn Murdock secret for keeping Face in line and on the way, home he found out.
"Captain, while the boys are riding ahead of us and out of earshot can you tell me what you whispered in Face's ear to get him to behave?"
"I told him to behave and apologize to you or he might find himself over BA's knee for another session real soon."
"Over BA's knee?" and then as a light bulb went off Hannibal added, "You don't mean that BA spanked Face?"
Murdock nodded, "Oh, yeah."
"What did Face do that BA felt that he needed a spanking?"
"It had been building for some time. I think that Face had been in his own way trying to find someone to care for him like a family would. We found out later that he was an orphan and lived in an orphanage since he was four or five. In a nutshell Face ran away from the security of the orphanage to the battlefield to find a family. The orphanage gave him shelter, clothes, food and a place to sleep. They allowed him an education everything any kid would want except for love. The director would beat him repeatedly for any minor infraction the boy might do, and he also sole from the funds set aside for the orphans upkeep, like food. He graved for a loving family, one who would take care of him and would only punish him when he deserved it."
"No wonder the kid ran away."
"So he learned to be a great drummer. He learned all of the drum beats for the different orders from the officers and then he lied about his age and enlisted. He was assigned to us after our regular drummer boy was injured. Once he was with our regiment he began to look for a family. He found BA and me when we noticed he was being harassed by some of our own soldiers who thought it great sport to pick on the boy. Once BA noticed that he was near tears he acted and scared the soldiers away from that moment on Face stayed close to us. He and I bonded at once and he was the kid brother I never had. He had a brother and protector in BA. Then you made it an order that he sleep in your tent for his protection like a father would. He had found his family but he wasn't completely sure and tested us."
"The pranks and mischief he got into," Hannibal suddenly realized. "They started as pranks but slowly began to get serious and dangerous and then all of a sudden they stopped and he behaved. I take it that the spanking had something to do with that?"
"Yep, but first let me explain. It seems that Face had a friend outside of the orphanage who came to school one morning wincing when he sat down and boys being boys the friend told Face what had happened. His pa had warned him about getting into a corral with an untrained horse but the friend did it anyhow and the horse reared and the boy fell. His father had seen the whole thing and after checking if he was okay he took him into the barn and spanked him. He told Face that his father hadn't shown any anger only concern. And after he had been spanked his father had held him until he finishing crying."
"So Face was testing us to see if we would react like his friend's father had?"
"Exactly and when he popped out in front of some of the Calvary as they rode by he felt that he had accomplished his plan. BA and I saw him do it and ran to his side among the rearing horses to pull him to safety. We checked him out before asking why he would do such a fool thing and he only shrugged his shoulders. BA decided then and there to do something to show the boy that we cared. He took him to a secluded part of the woods behind the tents and spanked him. He held him afterwards as he cried and told him that we cared and it would have hurt us so much to lose him for doing something so foolhardily. In Face's eyes BA loved him enough to punish him when he was bad."
"It's good that the boy knows that we love him and care that he behaves."
"Well, it gets a bit tricky. I think that he knows that BA is the only one that truly cares since he was the only one to punish him for misbehaving. He's not sure about you or me and I think that he intends to continue to tests us until we show him that we love him enough to punish him when he misbehaves. So we need to be on our toes and react as soon as we see him do something dangerous."
"BA must have made a real impression since your whispered threat had such a quick response from him."
Murdock smiled and nodded. "That kid winced for the rest of the day and all of the next whenever he sat."
"I may get my chance tomorrow when I take Face to the bathhouse for a good bath before he goes to the trial of Silas Thompson. I want him to look his best when he testifies."
"You will definitely have your hands full then Colonel…good luck."
AN: While "Adventures of Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain was written in the 1800's, it was written later than when my story takes place. I have changed that date for my story.
Hannibal's moment with the dealing with Face came the next morning after they arrived into town. He had told Face that the reason for arriving so early was for them, indicating himself, BA and Murdock's, need to get haircuts and shaves.
"We will tie our horses up in front of the barbershop," instructed Hannibal as he lead the way not realizing at the moment that Face hadn't followed them and had gone ahead to Sullivan's to see if there was anything new.
"Hannibal…Face isn't with us." Murdock pointed out before the colonel could enter the bathhouse.
Hannibal turned around and located him as he was about to enter the general store. He sighed ad then said, "You two get started and I'll bring the boy."
"He's not going to be happy to learn that you expect him to take a bath Hannibal."
"I know, Captain. I'm just going to have to persuade him somehow. Just make sure that there is a tub full of hot water waiting. We won't be long." And with that Hannibal headed for the general store.
It didn't take Hannibal long to locate the boy. He was in front of the candy counter looking longingly at the tray of pralines that Mrs. Sullivan had just deposited in the case. It was then that Hannibal had a plan for getting the kid in a bath tub.
"They look good, don't they son."
"Yes…I wish I had some money to buy some. Hannibal, you wouldn't happen to have some money I can borrow?"
"Sure kid, just as long as you promise to do something for me."
Face looked up warily. He's been in situations before like this and seldom liked what he had promised to do. "What is it you want me to do, Colonel?"
"Take a bath." Hannibal blurted it out without first trying to sugar coat it.
"I want you to look your best for the trial. You got a haircut yesterday and new clothes. I want the first impression the judge gets to be a good one. If you agree I will buy you a praline when you are clean to my standards."
Face thought it over and then slyly added. "I'll do it for two pralines."
Hannibal decided that he wouldn't get a better deal out of the kid and quickly agreed. "The bathhouse is next the barbershop and BA and Murdock are waiting for us. We will be there with you so you won't be by yourself. We will be all changing into clean clothes."
It didn't take them long to get to the bathhouse but upon entering Face became anxious on seeing so many men in different stages of undress that he moved closer to Hannibal who sensing his unrest pulled him closer. "It's okay kid, we will be with you."
"Now let's go and find BA and Murdock."
"Colonel Smith." It was Charles Mason, the barber. "Your friends are in the room at the end. They felt it might be easier for the boy if he bathed with them in a private room."
Hannibal nodded his thanks and followed the proprietor to the back room. "Hi Colonel, the water is hot." Murdock greeted as they walked in.
"Okay, kid pick a tub and climb in. I'll take the other, "Hannibal said as he watched with amusement as Face started to climb in the closest one still fully clothed.
"Remove your clothes first, Face."
"I thought I would wash the clothes at the same time."
Knowing that he had no other choice Face began to strip and quickly disrobed. He climbed slowly into the tub after he stepped out of his underwear and sank into the warm waters. After getting used to the water Face stretched out and found that it wasn't as bad as he originally thought. He stayed in it until he saw Murdock and BA start to get out of their and tried to do the same.
"Face…you haven't even started to wash. There is a bar of soap next to a wash cloth. Use them and lather up or I can get BA to bathe you, if you like." Hannibal ordered.
"No…I can do it." Face replied quickly as he did as he was told. He was surprised when the cloth and soap was suddenly taken from his hands.
"I'll get your back little brother and then you can finish." BA said as he quickly not only soaped his back but washed his hair as well. He then emptied a bucket for of warm water over him to wash away the soap.
"There you go, now finish up and get dressed." We will wait for you outside. BA said as he and Murdock left to finish up with a haircut and shave.
Hannibal stayed until the boy was cleaned and dressed in the clean set of clothes he brought along. "Okay, you look great kid. Here's a quarter, go get your treat and try and stay clean."
"Thanks Hannibal." Face pocketed the quarter and started for the door.
"Face try and stay out of trouble, too. After my shave I'm going to talk to the Judge about something. You behave."
But Face's mind was only on the pralines he was about to get and missed the part about Hannibal talking to the judge. He nodded and took off for Sullivan's.
It didn't take Face long to buy his treats and an apple for Dandy. He went outside to enjoy the pralines. "Look what I got you, Dandy." Face quickly removed the bridle so his horse could enjoy his treat as well. He knew that Dandy wouldn't leave him. It was while he was eating that Beau Sullivan rode up and dismounted.
Beau had ridden into town in a foul mood. His father had told him the bad news about Dandy. He had wanted the horse since the first day he saw him as a colt and had waited patiently for him to grow up so his father could buy him as a birthday present. Now the horse was lost to him because Jack had given him away to a kid. When he arrived he noticed Dandy right away and realizing that the kid with him must have been the one that Jack had given the horse to. He decided to try and buy him from the kid.
He tied his horse's reins to the hitching post next the Dandy and walked towards the kid striking his thigh lightly with a riding crop. "You know it isn't safe for him not to be tied. He could run away."
"Not Dandy…he loves me and wouldn't run away. Anyhow as soon as he finishes his apple I plan on putting the bridle back on."
Beau didn't like it when the kid didn't agree with him but kept his ire inside. "My name is Beau Sullivan, by the way."
Face nodded and introduced himself by his nickname. "I go by the name of Face. It's a name my family gave me and I like it better than my real name." In his mind Hannibal, BA and Murdock were his family.
"You're the kid Jack Phillips gave Dandy to, aren't you?"
"You know I've watched the horse grow up from colt. I helped Jack hide him on several occasions during the War…first from the Confederates and then from the Yankees whenever they came looking for horses for the war. I was there when Jack broke him to saddle and even rode him once as soon as Jack decided that it was time for him to be ridden. I talked with Jack about making Dandy mine but he said that it wasn't time yet for that and as soon as he found the right person then he would decide." Beau tried his best to keep his superior side hidden because he actually believed that he was better than Face. He felt that because his father had money that he was entitled to whatever he wanted, no matter if others got hurt in the acquirement.
"I guess Jack found the right person because he gave Dandy to me." Face had a feeling to the motives of Beau in telling him all of this.
"I figure that since you didn't pay for him you won't be out any money when you sell him to me. I have twenty-five dollars…its yours if you give me the horse."
"Dandy isn't for sell. How I can I sell my best friend?"
"You don't know me, but I always get what I want…and this time won't be any difference. So here is your choice…sell the horse or get a beating."
"I'm not selling…"
Before he could say more Beau struck…burying his fist in the boy's unprotected belly causing him to lose his breath as he fell to the ground. Face couldn't breathe as he watched Beau stand over him and placed the money in his hand.
"There, you just sold me the horse. It wouldn't have been so painful if you had just given me the horse without causing me to hurt you." He reached for Dandy only to remember that the horse was bridleless.
"NO!" Face cried out weakly as he struggled to his feet. He threw the money down.
"I guess I'm just going to have to teach you like an unruly horse," and started to hit him with his riding crop only Dandy was there rearing and screaming causing everyone on the street to look up among them BA and Murdock who had just come out of the barbershop.
"It's Face...he's in trouble!" Murdock cried as he and BA ran to the general store.
"BEAU! Put that crop down at once!" Katherine Sullivan was appalled to find her nephew attacking the poor boy she had become so fond of. She hurried to Face's side.
"It's okay dear…. you come inside with me."
Face was having trouble trying to talk. "I…can't…he'll ...take Dandy."
"No, he won't, little brother." BA assured the kid. "Go in with Mrs. Sullivan and get your breath back."
Face allowed himself to be led into the store and to the back room where Mrs. Sullivan insisted that he lay down for a while. Face did as he was instructed and after a while he felt better.
"I don't know what has gotten into that boy for him to attack you, dear. But I assure you he will be punished for this. In the meantime, please accept some of my pralines to help you feel better," and brought him a tray with several on it.
While Face was resting, Beau was trying his best to take possession of Dandy from BA and Murdock. "He sold me the horse…he's mine!"
"Face wouldn't do that. That horse means the world to him." Murdock said as he calmly put the bridle back on Dandy.
"Captain, what's going on and where is Face?"
"Face is inside trying to get his breath back. I don't know exactly what happened only that Dandy was trying to protect the kid from this boy who claims that Face sold Dandy to him." Murdock reported.
"How did Face get hurt?"
"I imagine that this boy had something to do with that but until Face returns and tell us I can only speculate."
"He tried to get me to sell Dandy to him," explained Face as he exited the store, "and when I wouldn't he hit me in the gut causing me to lose my breath. It was when I was unable to move that he put the money in my hand and told me that by accepting the money I had sold Dandy. When I protested, he was going to hit me with that riding crop only Dandy was there to protect me. He stood between us rearing and screaming. I guess that brought BA and Murdock from the barbershop and Mrs. Sullivan out of the store."
Hannibal turned to Beau and said, "Let's see what the Sheriff as to say about you attacking my boy."
He grabbed Beau by the arm and led him to the Sheriff's Office. "Let me go," cried Beau as he struggled to free himself.
"Sheriff Matthews I want to press charges against this boy. He attacked Face." Hannibal said as he entered the office.
Ben looked up and seeing who Hannibal was bringing in sighed out loud. "Beau…not again. I warned you about getting into trouble again."
Hannibal had released him upon entering and asked. "I take it that he gets into trouble a lot?"
"You have no idea…what did he do this time?"
"Try to get Face to sell Dandy to him and when Face didn't Beau hit him and would have hurt him worse if the horse hadn't protected the kid."
"That horse should have been mine. I helped Jack hide him from soldiers from both sides…he owes me!"
"Obviously, Jack thought you helped him out of friendship and not wanting to be paid for it…. this boy that he gave the horse to became his friend from the moment they met." Ben stated as he grabbed Beau by the arm and led him to a cell. "Now you stay there until your father arrives and we figure out what to do."
"Hey, you can't lock me up…I'm Beau Sullivan!"
Hannibal turned and asked, "You think that just because your name is Beau Sullivan you can do anything, even beat on a boy much younger than you?"
"It doesn't matter…I'm in the upper class and that kid was just a guttersnipe."
"You are in a desperately need of a thrashing, my boy and I can only hope that someday you will receive one that will turn you around."
"That won't ever happen, my mother would never allow something so brutal to happen to me," Beau sneered at Hannibal.
"Your mother is out of town, son. She is visiting her sister in Richmond for the next month." Ashley Sullivan had just walked in after his sister informed him on what had just happened.
Beau turned white when he heard. His father had threatened him with a thrashing for his bad behavior many times. The only reason he never got one was that his mother was there to protect him but now he was at the mercy of his father.
Ashley turned to Hannibal. "My name is Ashley Sullivan, Beau's father. My sister Katherine Sullivan told me what happened and I'm here to ask that you don't press charges but allow me to punish him instead. I promise you that when I'm finished he will be too sore to cause any more trouble for your son or his horse."
Hannibal shook his hand. "Okay, I'll trust you to keep your word and punish him. You still have time to change him to become a man you can be proud of." And with that he left Beau to his father to take care of.
By the time Hannibal had returned it was nearly time for the trial to start. BA and Murdock had used the time in cleaning Face up as best that they could. He had a new set of clothing on, curtesy of Mrs. Sullivan because of what her nephew had done to Face and a fast washing of face and hands he was ready to go.
"You clean up quickly, son," Hannibal remarked as he returned to the kid's side. "Before the trial begins Judge Henry wants to explains a few things to you."
"What things?" Face asked as he walked with Hannibal towards the courthouse.
"Oh, just how you will be expected to act. Like being sworn in, etc."
"Judge this is the victim, Drummer Boy Peck. We call him 'Face'."
Judge Thomas Henry looked up to see Colonel Smith and a very handsome younger boy enter his chambers. "I can see why, too."
"Face, the Judge is going to explain about the trial and what you can expect."
"Son, the first thing that will happen is that when I enter all the people will stand until I sit. This is due to my position as a judge. When it is your turn to take the stand, you will be sworn in. Do you know what that means?"
"It means that you will have to tell the truth about any questions you may be asked. This is done by asking that you place your left hand on the Bible and raised your right hand. When you have done this you will say the following words: 'I, state your full name, solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God'."
"Do you understand, son?" Asked Judge Henry who noticed the confused look on the boy's face.
Face shook his head.
"Colonel Smith, why don't you show him what I mean by going through it as if you were about to testify?"
Hannibal went to the Judge who held the Bible level to the floor. Face watched as his Colonel laid his left hand on the Bible and raised his right hand.
Hannibal, looking straight ahead, recited the words. "I, John David Smith, solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God." He then looked down at Face seeing the tears fall from the boy's face.
"Face! What's wrong?"
Hannibal froze. There was only one person who called him that and that was his little sister, Grace who had eloped when she was sixteen years old. Garrett Davis had swept her off her feet with lies. Hannibal had taken off after them but by the time he found out they were gone. He didn't even know that there was a child until his sister had sent him a letter five years later telling of his birth and that he was now five years old. Hannibal had gone to where the letter had been sent but they had moved by the time he arrived. He had been searching ever since until he got the telegram reporting her death. There was no mention of the boy.
Hannibal looked closely at Face and could see features from his sister in the boy. He just didn't understand why he didn't noticed them before.
"She told me that I was named after her beloved older brother. My name is John David Davis."
Hannibal was on his knees as he pulled the boy into his arms openly crying as well. "When we heard of your mother's death we nearly lost hope of ever finding you. I tried to find you two but every time I got close she would change her name and moved to another town."
"We had to…my father would beat us…mainly me to get back at Mom. He knew it would hurt her so much to hear me cry."
"Your father won't hurt you ever again, Face. He died at Shiloh. I saw him fall, killed by a rebel bullet." Hannibal remembered that day quite clearly. It happened after the battle when everyone was looking for the wounded from both sides. He came upon Garrett Davis torturing a confederate drummer boy with the bayonet on his rifle. He had commanded the man to stop only to be laughed at once Garrett had recognized him. He was about to stab the boy when a shot rang out and Garrett had fallen dead with a minie ball to the heart. A confederate soldier had come out from among the woods and had taken the boy away. Hannibal had done nothing to stop them, he knew that justice had been done. He reported that Garrett Davis had fallen during the Battle of Shiloh.
"I don't have to be afraid of him finding me?"
"No, Face and even if he wasn't killed in the War I wouldn't let him hurt you."
"Then I had better tell you that I also lied about my age. I'm really only eleven and not twelve."
"You enlisted when you were nine? Why would you put yourself in such danger that being in war could lead you? You could have died before you were assigned to my regiment."
"But I didn't and the way I had it figured if my father found me I knew he would kill me."
Hannibal and the Judge both looked with horror at what Face revealed. "He would kill you…for running away?"
"Yeah…must have been. I remember the last time we moved we were only steps ahead of him and just got on the train before he did. I remember him shouting that when he got his hands on us again he would kill us. In the war, there was a fifty-fifty chance of dying but a one hundred percent chance of dying if my father caught me. Anyhow in the end I found you, BA and HM."
"Now you can rest assure that you are safe from him forever. Now let's get ready for the trial and get that behind us as well."
The trial was a blur to Face. He noticed the surprised looks on BA's and H.M.'s faces when he was sworn and they heard his real name for the first time. After he, Martha, Mary and the doctor had testified against Silas Judge Henry didn't have long to deliberate before returning with a judgement of guilty. He sentenced Silas to twenty years at hard labor for kidnapping, spousal abuse as well as the abuse he heaped upon Face while using him as his personal slave. He would serve his sentence in the nearest federal prison and all his goods and lands would be given to Mary to do with as she saw fit.
"Hannibal can we go back to the Phillips Farm now. I'm tired?"
"Sure kid, and when we get there we can tell everyone out good news."
It was midafternoon by the time the team and the Phillips returned home. Martha and Mary went immediately to start supper. They had something in mind for celebrating the verdict of the trial and for the looks of it Face could use with a nap. They could see his exhaustion on the way home.
"Face why don't you lay down for an hour and get some rest. Today has been a hard day for you."
Face nodded and went to the room he shared with Jack and did just that. He was asleep by the time his head hit the pillow. Murdock took charge of Dandy and thoroughly groomed him before turning him out in the pasture to graze.
"Now Hannibal how did you get Face to reveal is real name?"
"It was easier than I thought Captain. I asked the judge to explain to him what was expected of him in court. He explained about what he had to do to be sworn in and then I showed him exactly what he had to say. When he heard, me say my full name he realized that I was his Mother's big brother, Uncle John. She named him after me…. John David."
"You mean Hannibal isn't your middle name, Colonel?" BA asked.
"I never cared too much for my middle name. Hannibal is just a nickname, Sergeant. In fact, Gracie was the only one who used to call me Davy."
"Now that you are his Uncle, are you and Maggie still planning on adopting him?"
"I want him as my son even more now, knowing his true identity, Murdock. I'm just surprised that I didn't realize who he was…there is so much of Gracie in him; his mischievous antics, blond hair and dimples."
"I'm happy for you Colonel and the big guy and I will be there to give you a hand because we know how much you are going to need us. He will always be a handful."
"Thanks HM, BA…I can't wait until I get home to Maggie and introduce him to his new mother."
"When are you going to tell him about wanting to adopt him, Colonel?"
"Soon BA, but first he needs to come to turns about his new standing as my nephew. We have plenty of time before we get to St. Louis and Maggie to discuss adoption."
By the time supper was ready Face was awake and starving like any eleven-year-old could be. He had to be satisfied with an apple to hold him until the meal could be finished. He took his apple and one for Dandy and headed out to visit with his horse. He found Jack already there waiting.
"Do you feel better now?"
Face nodded as he fed Dandy the apple. "Today was something else. Jack I found out that the Colonel is my Uncle. He is my Mother's older brother."
"That's great news Face, but I thought he was your father. He treats you like a father would."
"I wish he was my father. My real father lied to my mother to get her to marry him and then beat her and me for the whole time we were with him. We ran away when I was five. I found the Colonel, BA and HM during the war and we became family. I had to lie about my name and age to get into the army as a drummer boy. My mother named me after the Colonel; I'm John David Davis. Mom used to call me Davy."
"What do you want me to call you…Davy or Face?"
"Face. I haven't been called Davy since my Mom died."
Jack was about to say more when supper was announced and they ran to the table eager to see what Mrs. Phillips had fixed.
"Face, in honor of your victory in the courthouse today I decided to treat you to a fried chicken feast. Mary and I fixed the chicken, rice with gravy, green beans from the garden and cornbread for everyone to enjoy and then end it with my famous apple pies."
After a simple blessing, all that could be heard were the family and their guests eating. They saved any talking until the majority of the food had been eaten. "Mrs. Phillips we are going to miss your hospitality and fine meals when we leave tomorrow." Hannibal was very gracious with his thanks.
Martha Phillips was so please with all of the compliments coming her way but had to laugh when Face, with his mouth still full, asked, "Can I h've anoth'r p'ece, please."
"Face you are going to burst if you eat anymore," scolded Hannibal.
"But I'm not going to have any more for such a long time," whined Face as he held his plate out for another slice.
"Not now, son. Don't you have something you want to do first?" prompted Hannibal.
"Oh, I forgot. Don't anyone leave yet," Face remarked as he pushed away from the table to run back to his room to gather his gifts.
When he returned, he gave the two bags of candy to James and Billy Phillips. "Jack told me that these were your favorites. Thanks for treating me like another little brother."
He gave a package to Mary and Martha. "Mrs. Phillips Mrs. Sullivan told me that whenever you came to the store you would gaze at this necklace. Thanks for taking care of me when I needed your care the most." Martha gave Face a kiss on the cheek when she opened her package to see the jade necklace. "Son, you have become another son to me."
Mary followed suit when opening hers she found blue stones. "I thought they match your eyes. Thank you for trying to protect me from your husband's abuse even if it meant that you took a beating to do so, and for feeding me extra when he would try and starve me into submission."
Face pulled out the two tins and gave them to Jacob Phillips. "Jack said that you were nearly out of pipe tobacco, so I got you enough to last months. Thanks for protecting me from Silas' whip and offering me shelter."
Then turning to Jack Face said, "You know I never had a best friend before I met you. You gave me your friendship from the moment we met and you gave me Dandy. I give you this to remember me by," as he gave the carbine and scabbard to Jack. "You told me that whenever you went hunting you would have to borrow a rifle from your father, now you won't have to. This is a Spenser Carbine, the same type carried by the U.S. Calvary. There is an inscription on the stock that explains my feelings."
Jack read the inscription out loud. "To Jack the best friend I have ever had…love Face."
Jack reaction was quick as he pulled Face into a hug. "Thank you so much, Face. I'm going to really miss you. You are the best friend I could ever wish to have."
Face brushed away the tears that were falling by now. There would be time for tears later when they left. He had more gifts to hand out. He turned to BA and handed him a large bag. "I know you enjoy sweets, big guy. I remember the bee hive you raided a few months ago, only I didn't know what type of candy you would like so I got you a mixture of all of Jack's favorites."
BA was speechless for a moment before pulling Face into another hug. "Oh, little brother you didn't have to spend your money on me, but thank you so much for thinking about me like this."
Face then turned to Murdock. "Harry, I saw these dime novels at the General Store and then had such colorful and exciting covers that I bought you a few. I hope you will enjoy them."
And finally turning to Hannibal Face said. "Colonel, you have been a father to me ever since I met you. In fact, I hoped that you were my father but learning that you are my uncle is almost as good. I thought you might like these cigars. Mrs. Sullivan told me that they keep them in stock for the banker. They are from Cuba."
"Kid, I'm touched." Hannibal looked up into the curious faces of the Phillip family, except for Jack, to add. "While in the Judge's chambers today Face finally admitted that his real name is John David Davis and I discovered that he was my youngest sister's son, making me his uncle. I have been searching for him for years and all along he was my drummer boy. We also discovered his true age. He is eleven and enlisted in the army as a drummer boy at the age of nine."
"Mr. Smith," Jack called out, "It would thrill Face to no end if you were to adopt him. He told me today that he wished that you were his father."
Hannibal turned to Face to ask, "Is this true, son?"
"Son, from the moment I saw you I had decided that I wanted you in my life and if we couldn't find any of your parents we, my wife Maggie and I, were planning to do just that. That is if you agree?"
Face threw himself in Hannibal's arms. "Yes, and can we just drop the 'Davis' part of my name?"
"With pleasure; and with the dropping of Davis we can add a Junior. You will become John David Smith, Jr."
"Facey, BA and I have something for you," Murdock said as he handed an identical Spenser carbine and scabbard over to the boy.
"Little brother we felt that you need to be armed for the journey. We may not always be with you if trouble comes our way and this way we know you will be safe."
Face took the carbine out and noticed at once that it had something inscribe on the stock. He read it out loud. "To Face, the best little brother we could ever have love BA and HM."
"I never had big brothers before I met you two and now I'll have a new father in the Colonel and another mother in Maggie and my family will be complete. Thanks, guys."
"John, what do you say that we try out our gifts outside and let the boys try out theirs while we watch?"
"Sounds like a plan to me." Hannibal turned to Murdock and BA to ask. "You two coming?"
"Not now…we thought we would help Martha and Mary with the dishes."
The ladies were pleased with the help but shooed them out as soon as the dishes were deposited into the sink to be washed.
By the time BA and HM joined them outside it was too dark for the boys to shoot and had to reluctantly come back inside. Soon they were in bed and sleeping.
The next morning came too early for Face, because it was the day they had to leave. He woke with the knowledge that he was soon be telling his best friend goodbye, probably forever and decided to delay it as long as possible.
Jack felt as bad as Face about his friend leaving but obediently got up and dressed when his mother came to wake them. "Aren't you coming," he remarked to Face who hadn't moved.
"I don't feel good," came the muffled response from under the covers as the tears of regret began to fall.
"I'll tell Ma, maybe she can give you something to make you feel better." He knew that unless his Ma had a cure for a broken heart Face wouldn't be feeling better anytime soon and left him to cry in peace.
The table was full when Jack arrived and took his seat. Hannibal noticed that Face wasn't with him. "Where's Face?"
"He's still in bed. He said that he doesn't feel good, but that isn't the problem. He doesn't want to leave."
Martha started to get up only for Hannibal to wave her back. "I'll handle it."
Face was still in bed crying softly when he someone sit on the edge. "Hannibal?" Face guessed that it would be him who would come.
Hannibal pulled the boy over to see his tears. "I know you are sad about leaving, kid but we have to."
"I know but couldn't we wait a few more days?"
"It wouldn't matter…you would still feel sad no matter what day we leave. You feel that it isn't fair. You just found a best friend and now you are parting."
Face nodded as he felt himself being pulled into a hug. "You've got to be brave kid. Jack is hurting, too but he is not letting his grief keep him from enjoying the last moments with us. Won't you join him and us?"
Face nodded and pushed away. He watched as Hannibal pulled some water in the basin next to the door. "Wash your tears and get dressed and join us for breakfast. Mrs. Phillips has out done herself once again and if you don't hurry there will be nothing left for you to eat." He then left Face to get dressed and returned to the breakfast table.
"Face will be here soon," and resumed eating. Face appeared about five minutes later sitting next to Jack.
"Did you save me anything?" he asked Jack as he saw the plate heaped up with food.
"He didn't, but I did, son." Replied Martha as she set a full plate in front of the boy.
Face licked his lips in anticipation of eating. Mrs. Phillips had given him hot cakes as well as bacon, and a fried egg. She sat a glass of milk in front of him as well as butter and honey for his hot cakes. Nearby were platters of biscuits, fried potatoes and slabs of ham. There was coffee for the adults and milk for the children and BA.
As soon as Face started eating he didn't stop until everything was gone from his plate and he was asking for more. This time he took a couple of biscuits and ham and settled back to eat until he was full. "That was delicious Mrs. Phillips." He praised before finishing his milk.
Mrs. Phillips smiled her thanks for his compliment and then shooed him away. "You had better start packing son. Jack can help you."
Face nodded and returned to the room he shared with Jack to start and gather his things and Martha and Mary started to clear away the dishes and start fixing lunch. They had already started earlier that morning so they could give some to Hannibal for their journey.
Murdock had noticed the sad look on Face's face when Marth had told him that he needed to pack his belongings and decided to try and get his mind off the task.
"Hey Face…I bet I can pack my stuff and have it out to the pack horse before you can. Do you want to accept my challenge?"
Face was always getting in trouble when he was a drummer boy in accepting bets from the soldiers that he had no chance of winning. He just couldn't turn down a bet. "What's the wager?" he asked with interest in his eyes.
"If I you win then I will do your chores for the next two days and if I win then you will have to do whatever we tell you without complaint…is it a bet?"
"What chores. Hannibal hasn't said anything about me having chores."
"I would think that gathering firewood or water for the horses and ourselves or feeding the horses as possible chores on our journey."
Face thought it over and said, "I accept" before running to the room he shared with Jack.
"Now you pack neatly, Facey…the Colonel will not be happy to see wrinkled clothes!" Murdock shouted after him as he moseyed back to his room the pack. His mission was complete. He knew that Face would only think about the bet he would win and not about leaving his friend…at least for now.
Face was so focused on winning the bet that he forgot momentarily about leaving that is until he carried his stuff to the pack animals and saw that most of the preparations on leaving were nearly complete.
"I guess it is time to say goodbye," Face said with tears in his eyes.
Jack could only nod as he felt the tears gather in his eyes. They watched as Murdock came out with his stuff. "I guess you won Face."
Face nodded before pulling Jack into a hug and whispering in his ear, "I've never had a best friend like you and I never will."
Before Jack could respond Face jumped on Dandy and rode away afraid that he would burst into tears and didn't want to appear weak in front of his friend.
As soon as Murdock saw Face leave he quickly left" his belongings with BA to be packed. He nodded his thanks to the Phillips' family before mounting and riding off after Face.
Murdock saw Dandy before he saw the boy, who had dismounted and was sitting under a nearby tree trying to hold back his tears.
"Facey, it's okay to cry." Murdock had dismounted and had gone to comfort the boy. He sat down next to the boy before pulling him into a hug which caused Face to finally start crying. He was crying for leaving the only real friend he ever had. Murdock remained during this show of grief only allowing his presence to comfort the boy. Finally, the tears started to cease and he was able to talk.
"I'll never see Jack again, Harry."
"You don't know that kid but even though it might be a while before you see him you can still keep in touch with him."
"Write to him. You know his address and I just bet that Hannibal has told Jacob the route we will be taken and the stops along the way. Then when we reach the home ranch you can write him with that address. You can tell Jack of all of the adventures you will be experiencing along the way."
"I don't have any paper, Harry."
"I'm sure we can find some as we travel on. You okay now?"
"Then let's get mounted. Hannibal and BA will be on their way soon and we want to be ready."
They had mounted just as Hannibal and BA rode up.
"Are you okay, kid?" Hannibal asked as he noticed his red eyes.
"Yes, sir. I am now, thanks to Harry."
"Then let's ride, we need to make up the time we lost in getting packed this morning. I want to make twenty miles today."
Face turned back once thinking. 'I'm going to have lots to tell you Jack about our journey home.'
The End of Part One.
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