Thursday, July 9, 2015

James River Watcher #2

>>>> James River Watcher #2 <<<< It was just after lunch, and George was approaching the Engineering Captain’s tent. He had asked to speak to the Captain, and he had ready his plan for the old broken building that he had seen last night. He knew that there was something to be gained from using that old pile of rubble, and he hoped that his plan would reveal what that something might be. However, first things first, he had to convince the Captain of his plan. George scratched at the canvas wall and a response from within bade him to enter. It was a bit cooler inside the tent as the rear wall was raised slightly from the ground allowing a small breeze to circulate. The Captain turned from his folding desk, heavy with papers and maps, and said,” Well, what can I do for you Lt.? George swallowed uncomfortably and thrust forward his plan that he had worked up during the night. He began to explain what he had seen at the old house ruin and his ideas about how his plan might be of some value based on what he had seen. The Captain quickly read through the plan as George had laid it out in words, and then studied the sketch map that George had supplied. The Captain looked up from the papers and asked George, “ So, what makes you think that there is anything important going on across the river?” The young Lt. replied quickly,” Well first, the numerous lights across the river indicate at some kind of activity in or near the water. Second, the heavy patrol on this side of the river along the roadway that I was mapping. There is a possibility that the Rebs may be setting up some sort of barricade or trap in the river!” In his anxiety, to get his ideas across, George had forgotten his concern of the Captain’s seniority and was eagerly leaning forward to make his points. The Captain, stroking his beard and looking hard at the sketch map, answered quietly, “Your observations are interesting and may be accurate to an extent. How do you propose to gain any further information on these observations?” George had been waiting for this question, and had worked out a rather sophisticated answer to the question, but he found himself simply blurting out, “Well, sir, I had planned to take a telescope and go up in the old ruin to see what was going on!” At the Captain’s frown, George realized that perhaps he had not covered all the items and questions that would arise from such an admission. The Captain’s next words confirmed his fears, “ Lt. while such is a novel idea, perhaps a few questions might be in order: First, can you get up to the room that you have drawn in your diagram, and is it in such a shape as it would need be to work there? Furthermore, how would you get any reports back to me? Moreover, have the Rebs posted any sort of guards or sentries around or near, the old building? If so, what do we do about that, while keeping a secret in the building itself? Fourth, movement into and out of the old building on a routine basis would reveal passage into and out of the old building which would be very suspicious to any Reb that might be looking for such.” The Captain looked to George for some answers to the questions. George hesitated for a moment, and then replied,” I had planned to stay in the tower, for at least five days. My reports to you would be with a directed light blinker, and my staying in the old building would solve the concern of creating a pathway back and forth. I was assuming that the room that I sketched would be in good shape since that whole side of the original structure was not touched by the artillery barrage that brought the other parts of the building down.” The Captain nodded his had at this explanation and made a few notes on the plan sheets that George had provided. “Well, Lt.,” he said, looking up from the paper on his knee, “ the idea has merit, I must say. I will be pleased to bring this to the Major. It will be up to him to approve or disapprove. I will bring this to him today, so be ready to discuss all this with the Major later today. I suspect that he will have some questions, and hopefully you will have the answers. Dismissed, and as I said your idea has merit.” (To be continued) Respectfully; Jim Mathews

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