CopyrightÂ© 2006 by R. Michael Lowe aka The Scot. All rights reserved
The next few weeks seemed to move at supersonic speed. Kevin worked with Gunny to build modified Remington cap and ball revolvers made of titanium. This enabled them to handle a more powerful mixture of black powder and modern cordite. A fictitious Canadian company was shown as the manufacturer. They were designed to use a small amount of the recoil and escaping gasses to turn the cylinder and cock the hammer, making it more like a modern automatic pistol without a clip. You still had to cock it for the first shot, but after that it’d rotate and cock itself. The result was similar to fanning the pistol, but with much more accuracy. They also had a six inch barrel instead of the typical seven and a half inch used at the time, and a rolling block safety was added which allowed him to use all six cylinders, rather than leaving one empty. A similar safety was added to Kevin’s Colt Peacemakers. After a few minutes practice with the new cap and ball pistols Kevin was able to adjust to the new pistols with no loss of speed or accuracy.
Gunny helped him prepare some additional items they kept secret from everyone, including the other members of the team. A thirty-two caliber Walther PPK was hidden inside a bound and locked copy of the works of William Shakespeare. To go with this hidden weapon his valise was modified with a false bottom to hold hollow point and Glaser Safety rounds inside plastic tubes. While he hoped this modern weapon would never have to be used the small automatic would be much more effective than a derringer. The cane Kevin carried was designed to fire the same round in a single shot configuration.
Gunny told Kevin the two distinctly different types of ammunition gave him different options and increased the likelihood of success. The hollow point would carry further distances than the Glaser, which was designed primarily for short range protection. The hollow point round, apart from the brass casing, would look like most of the smaller caliber bullets of the time. Especially to someone removing the bullet from a body. While the Glaser round gave Kevin stopping power at close range that was close to that of a forty-five, using it had one negative, it’s effect would look like nothing in existence in eighteen sixty-four.
While the weapons and other supplies were being prepared Kevin spent time working with the physical therapists as well as studying maps and history. He felt the more he knew of the area and times the better his chance of success, and the less chance he’d do something that altered history. He also learned about the various cattle and horse breeds available during the period.
Kevin’s trip with Rick Hansen was both informative and a little frightening. In Texas they stopped at a convenience store for gas, and walked into the middle of an armed robbery. When one of the Mexican ‘gangbangers’ turned to face the door while they entered Kevin quickly learned he didn’t need to worry about ‘buck fever.’ When the armed robber turned toward them Kevin beat Rick to the draw and quickly shot both of the armed crooks before Rick had his gun out of his holster.
During the rest of the trip Kevin learned about watching the eyes of his opponent more than the hands. He also learned more about poker than he ever wanted to know. By the time they returned to Washington none of the gamblers would play with him any more.
When the project came closer to execution Kevin decided to do something positive with his personal assets that would be left behind. He worked with General Scott and others to see most of it would go to the Pickneys and Jennifer’s parents. He even set up a fund so any of his teammates who didn’t receive a scholarship offer could still go to college.
Finally T-Day arrived. The time device was taken to the cave where the body had been found. Kevin was sent through first. He quickly moved to a far wall and made sure he was alone. He could see the body laying at the base of the far wall. Two minutes later his supplies arrived. That was the longest two minutes of his life.
Kevin immediately unpacked his pistols in case he was surprised. Then, properly armed, he quickly dressed. Once he was dressed he used the trenching tool included in his supplies to bury the dead FBI sharpshooter. When that was done Kevin separated his immediate supplies from those he’d need in the future. He then moved those future supplies to the back of the cave and buried them under a mound of loose rocks. Carefully slipping out of the cave he headed for the town located about four miles away.
An hour later Kevin’s right foot was killing him, and he knew he needed a rest. Luckily, he spotted a farm house up ahead. When he reached the path to the house he stood open handed, other than his cane. In his French accent Kevin yelled, “Hello the house! Is anyone home?”
The barrel of an old muzzle loader was shoved though the door, and a female voice responded, “Go away!”
“Please, I’ve a hurt foot, and my horse became frightened and ran away. I just need to rest my foot for a bit, and get a drink of water.”
“Why do you talk so funny. You’re not some Johnny Reb are you?”
“No, Mademoiselle, I’m Canadián.”
“What are you doing here?”
“My family wants to improve the quality of their herds. So I was sent to your country to buy breeding horses and cattle, and to ship them back to home.”
“Are you armed?”
“What does that mean?”
“I apologize, Mademoiselle. It means yes, in French.”
“Take off your gun belt and hold it out in front of you. Come up on the porch and lay it beside the door. You can sit in the rocker and rest your foot. I’ll bring you a dipper of water.” Reluctantly, Kevin did as she asked. He needed the rest and the water, but he didn’t like to be separated from his guns.
On the other hand, this was still pretty wild country, and he could understand her concerns. He loosened the strap on his leg and undid the buckle. Then, holding the guns in his left hand he used the cane to hobble to the porch. He set the guns on the porch and used his cane to move them closer. When he moved his cane away from the holster the rifle was drawn back into the house. Nothing more was said by the woman, until he almost fell trying to step up onto the porch. She immediately threw open the door and ran to help him. After she got him seated in the rocking chair she went back inside. Moments later she returned with a dipper full of water.
While he drank he got a good look at the young woman who couldn’t have been much older than he was. Her dirty blond hair could’ve used a good brushing and her dress was thread-worn and tattered, with patches on patches. Despite it all she was attractive. Fixed up, she’d be beautiful.
“What happened to your foot?” she asked.
“I fell off a wall and broke some bones in my heel. It’s getting better, but I’ve been walking for a couple of hours.”
“What are you doing out here?”
“Actually, I was traveling from Willow Wood to Proctorville to look at some horses a man has for sale. Rather than taking the road I was trying to cut across country. I stopped a ways back to remove a stone from my horses foot. He took off when something frightened him.”
“Well, I don’t get many strangers out here, and most of them are up to no good. They either want me and my land, or just my land. Of course, that problem’s about to end.”
Then, holding out her hand she added, “By the way, I’m Bonnie MacLean.”
Instead of shaking hands as she expected Kevin kissed the back of her hand in the manner of the French. Then, using the name he’d already picked out, he responded, “I am Bartholomew Pierre Simpson, but my friends call me Bart. My father is a Scot and my mother’s French.”
Becoming more relaxed, she responded, “Both my parents families lived in this country for several generations, and I don’t know where all our ancestors came from. My husband, Angus, was a Scot. He came to America as a small boy.”
“Yes, he was killed almost two years ago at the battle of Perryville, in Kentucky.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“We hadn’t been married all that long, but I wish I’d never married him.”
“He was kind and gentle when we were courting. Then as soon as we were married he changed. In the end I became just a slave he didn’t have to buy.”
Kevin / Bart started to respond when he heard horses on the road. “Someone’s coming! Quick, hand me my guns and get back inside.”
“I’ll do it, but it’s probably the Sheriff bringing someone out to look at my property.”
Buckling on his belt and taking off the safety thongs Kevin / Bart asked, “Why would he do that?”
Bonnie stepped back inside the house as she answered, “I’m behind in my taxes, and the money I borrowed from the bank for seed is now coming due.”
Three men were turning toward the house when Bart asked, “How much do you owe?”
“Almost a hundred and twenty dollars.” she replied.
Bart stood with his cane in his right hand as the three men came up to the front fence. The one in front was clean shaven and looked to be in his twenties. He was wearing black canvas pants, a black and white gingham shirt, and a black felt slouch hat. A badge was pinned in the middle of his left shirt pocket, and a ‘hogleg’ Colt was buckled on his hip, much to high for a fast draw.
The other two men were much older and fat. They both wore white pleated muslin shirts under a frock coat and vest. The taller man’s coat and vest were black, and the wide red tie he wore was so loosely tied it looked more like an ascot. The shorter man wore a dark brown coat, a lighter brown vest and a black string tie. One interesting thing Bart noticed was the taller man wore a squat John Bull hat while the other wore a low topper. It caused both men to appear to be the same height as they sat uncomfortably on their horses.
These men would have probably called themselves investors, but after the war men like these would be known as Carpetbaggers. In the time period Kevin had left, they’d be known on Wall Street as sharks and raiders. They weren’t looking for land to work, only for land to steal, turning the widows and other families out into the cold. In Kevin’s eyes these men were the antithesis of everything good in mankind.
“Who might you be?” asked the one with a badge.
“Bartholomew Pierre Simpson.”
“And where is Bonnie MacLean?”
“She’s inside the house.”
“Tell her to come outside. These men want to look over her property.”
“It won’t do them any good. It’s not for sale.”
“And why not?” asked one of the two prospective buyers.