Frank on the Lower Mississippi

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A Scouting Party.

Frank, of course, could not agree to the scout's proposition without first obtaining permission of either the admiral or Captain Wilson—the commander of the division to which the Boxer belonged. He did not know where to go to find the former, and besides, the latter had given him strict orders not to leave his station until relieved by some other vessel, and to allow no one to go ashore. The very nature of these orders put it out of his power to obtain liberty to carry out the proposed expedition. He went to bed pondering upon what the major had told him, and fell asleep without being able to conjure up any plan by which the capture of the rebel might be effected.

The next morning, while at breakfast, the orderly entered the cabin and reported a gun-boat approaching. Frank at once went on deck, and when he had made out her signals, he found, to his delight, that it was the Manhattan, the flagship of the division to which the Boxer belonged. After ordering the officer of the deck to have the gig called away, Frank ran into the cabin, put on his side-arms, and, in company with the major, put off to the iron-clad.

Captain Wilson received them cordially, listened with a good deal of interest to the scout's plan for the capture of the guerrilla, and finally gave Frank permission to "do as he pleased in the matter," adding, "You have never yet failed in an undertaking of this kind, and I shall fully expect you to succeed in the present instance. I will be here again in about a week, and you can turn the prisoner over to me." The confident manner in which the captain spoke of his success, made Frank more determined than ever to capture the guerrilla, if within the bounds of possibility. After giving a short report of the state of affairs on his station, he returned to the Boxer, highly delighted with the result of the interview. Archie was no less pleased, for, although he had not said a word about accompanying his cousin, he looked upon it as a settled thing that he was to be one of the expedition. Frank, who knew the danger of the undertaking, and was anxious to keep Archie out of harm's way, would have preferred to leave him behind; but, as the latter had shown, in a remarkable manner, that he was equal to any emergency, the young commander could not deny him on the ground that he had never "smelt powder."

The major advised Frank to take at least one more man; and this one was soon forthcoming in the shape of Tom, the coxswain of the first cutter, the same who had been left in charge of the boat on the night that Frank and Archie had broken up the head-quarters of the "Louisiana Wildcats." He was at once summoned into the cabin, and after the object of the proposed expedition had been explained to him, Frank inquired: "Now, Tom, do you want to go with us?" "Douse my to'-gallant top-lights! yes sir," he replied, eagerly. "But, Cap'n Nelson, I wouldn't like to be left behind, sir, when it comes to the dangerous part of the business, like I was on the night when the paymaster burned that house....