Thursday, July 9, 2015
James River Watcher #3
>>>> James River Watcher #3 <<<< The following afternoon just after the dinner meal had been completed, A private appeared at George’s Tent with a summons to meet with the Captain and Major (Chief Engineer). George was more prepared this time having spent a good part of the night going over his observations at the old ruined house, and some possibilities for the Rebel lights across the river. George was convinced that the Rebs had some plans for the river, and that those plans were definitely something that he and his superiors would be interested in. At his arrival at the Major’s tent he found the tent flaps wide open and both the Captain and the Major were seated in camp chairs in the shadow of the canvas. An empty camp chair faced both of the officers, and as soon as he reached the front of the tent, the Major called out,” Come on in and have a seat.” George responded with a thank-you and took his seat with his notes and sketches on his lap. “Captain Johnson tells me that you have a couple of ideas that you want to go over with us,” said Major Keeley. “The sketches that you have drawn and the notes you made about your observations, look pretty good, but the good Captain has asked some searching questions and I would like to hear what your responses to them, are and why you are concerned about what the Rebs are doing.” “Major, I am very hopeful that the room on the third floor of the ruin would be an excellent lookout place to keep an eye on the Reb activity across the river, however the question would be the means of getting to the room. That will have to be looked at carefully. My idea was that whoever the look-out is to be, that he would have to stay in the room for about a week at least with night observations through a signal scope to determine what the Rebs are up to. His observations could be relayed to a messenger hidden at the edge of the woods with a directed red signal lamp. If the Reb cavalry patrol along the road is to be a regular thing, that would point to the fact that the activity that the Rebs are onto would be important for us to know. In that case the messenger at the edge of the woods would have to be well camouflaged and hidden. As to what it is that the rebs are planning, my guess would be that they will be erecting a new set of barriers in the river similar to the ones near Drewery’s Bluff, or perhaps they have the equipment and technology to actually lay a torpedo field in the river hidden from any shipping by being submerged.” When George finished speaking Captain Johnson looked at the Major to see what was next to be discussed. Major Keeley stirred in his chair a bit, and then said,”Well, son your guess as to what the Reb Project is as good as the Captain’s and mine. We came up with the same possibility. However, if they are simply trying to raise an old hull to repair and put in their gun-boat fleet, I am not sure if that merits the risk that the look-out will be running to make that determination. What about food and water for the week that the look-out would be there?” George thought for a moment, and replied, “A pocket full of hardtack and jerky with a couple of large canteens of water should be enough for that period of time. Perhaps a heavy coat if the nights got a little chilly.