Stagecoach Station: A Galvanized Yankee Story

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The stagecoach lost a wheel before getting to the swing station. I was one of the soldiers whose job it was to escort the stage safely between the main station and one of the swing stations. That’s mainly a place for the stage to change horses and where the passengers could rest and maybe get a bite to eat and a cup of coffee. Just a livestock tender manned it. Maybe if we are lucky we could get a spare wheel there. Anyhow, I went ahead to the station to let them know the stage was delayed.

I suppose me and the other soldiers still had a bit of Southern accent and Sam asked me about it. I told him about our being Confederate soldiers who were Prisoners of War and how we were allowed to sign on in the Union Army for frontier duty. We came to be referred to as Galvanized Yankees. Galvanizing is a process of covering metal with a thin coat of zinc. In our case they cover a Southerner with a thin layer of Yankee and hope it works.

My name is Jacob Brown and I don’t think being a bluecoat is all that bad. I didn’t have anything to go back to in the south. I was called poor white back there and had no real stake in the war. I don’t have anything against the Indians either. Fact is, we kind of understand each other. The Comanche and the Kiowa are warriors and so are we, as I see it. Anything was better than the prison camp in Rock Island, Illinois. It was cold, full of smallpox and I was grateful to leave. Just as long as I don’t have to fight against other southerners. So far we have not even fought that much against the Indians but only doing patrol duty.

Horses gone

I found the station keeper pretty badly wounded and unconscious. The horses were gone. It looked like the Kiowa had made a raid. That’s one of the reasons us soldiers were out there with the coaches, to protect the horses. The stage horses are prize livestock because they are strong and have endurance. It looked like we’d have to stay over. The coach horses need rest. The Kiowa were not really on the warpath and they didn’t kill the station man. Now I was worried about the stage and its horses.

The swing station wasn’t much more than an old sod building that had been a tavern. where travelers stopped to rest. Behind it was another Soddy used as a stable where the horses had been kept. That’s where I went to find another wheel. In that I was lucky. There was one there. I made a travois so I could pull it behind the horse.

Once we got the coach back to the station we got the passengers settled in best we could. Since the tavern had once rented out rooms to travelers there were rooms with beds. Mary Hutchins, the woman passenger, volunteered to make some food for everyone. I showed her the kitchen area and left it up to her to make do with whatever was there. Sam Darkens looked like a gunfighter to me but he was pleasant enough about helping out. Mary was a pretty woman in her early twenties who came from out east and went to Dodge City as a mail order bride She said her man had been killed and she was going back home. She didn’t elaborate and I didn’t push it.

The Soldiers guarded the horses. I was afraid the Indians would try to make off with them as well as the ones they already had. Not only are the horses valuable but also to the Kiowa it is like a sport to steal them. I don’t know if they take bets on who can steal the best horse, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Whatever the case we had to guard the horses because the Indians might be back.

Sam Dirkens, an apparent gunfighter, Mary Hutching the disappointed bride, another male passenger Carl Smith, a drummer, and myself would have to guard the station and the horses. The driver, Joseph Jones was also with us. I stayed with the group at the station but the other soldiers continued their patrol duty.

Suspicions

There was something about the Indian raid that left me uneasy. I’d dealt with the Kiowa before and it was a favorite technique of theirs to disguise themselves as bluecoats so as to get close to an encampment and stealing horses. So it wasn’t unreasonable that it could be them. But something didn’t set right with me. I knew the Kiowa and it didn’t seem to quite fit. But, if not them, than who?

In the morning the horses should be rested and the stage can move on, a little late but hopefully safe.Maybe there wont be another raid, but we had to be prepared.

Mary kept us supplied with coffee and sandwiches. It helped keep us going. Sam was on watch when a commotion outside woke me up. There was some gunfire and men in war paint and feather headdresses rushed the barn. Again, something was a bit off key. Whoever the men were, they were not Kiowa. I don’t think Indians would be wearing war paint to make a horse raid. I grabbed my rifle and took a bead on the one in front. He fell. Sam was firing effectively at the rustlers. I checked and the driver was still asleep next to where I had been. Where was the drummer, Carl Smith?

I slipped out to the coach and there he was. We were so distracted by the horse rustling and worry about Indians we didn’t think about what the stagecoach might be hauling. Anyhow our driver had been a step ahead and secured the valuables inside the station. He hadn’t even told me where they were hidden.

The stagecoach brought the station keeper to the next town for medical treatment.

We had a few prisoners to hold for the marshal when we got there. We can retrieve the rest of the horses after that.

© 2011 Don A. Hoglund

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Comments 24 comments

TheManWithNoPants profile image

TheManWithNoPants 5 years ago from Tucson, Az.

Can't wait for the next part. You really put me in the story. I don't know if I said it right, but you know what I mean. Good job my friend!

jim


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for being the first to comment. I've been wanting to do more stories with the Galvanized Yankee but have been working on others. You're encouraging words are appreciated.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Hi dahog the start of another interesting tale with that ? in the coach. Keep writing.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for the comment. I'm hoping that the Galvanized Yankee will be popular as a series


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago

Dahoglund , I must say , I love the way you mix history and fiction ! Voted right across the board.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I appreciate your compliment.Fiction is a way to explore some things outside the mainstream such as these soldiers.Thanks for the comment and the votes.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Very interesting stories. I like this series. Getting history in a fictionalized setting. Good idea.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I'm glad you like it.Maybe because I worked at the Rock Island Arsenal where the prison for confederates was in the Civil War peaked my interest in those that became "Galvanized Yankees."Thanks for commenting."


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

I have always been interested in these types of stories. Great job and voted up, up and away!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for commenting.Glad you liked the story.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Good reader hook. Enjoyed. Keep them coming. Flag up!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks you for commenting. I appreciate any feedback that helps me write better.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Great start, and waiting for more!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Glad you liked it Will.I'll be writing more.r


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

You really bring history alive with your fictionalized accounts of stories that could have happened in real life back then. Voted up and interesting!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thank you Peggy W. I've been wanting to make a series of this but got sidetracked with the Carbons Creek stories.I am getting interested in what happened to various groups after the Civil War.


Jannie D profile image

Jannie D 5 years ago from Parys, Free State, South Africa

Thank you sir. The hardcore stories of history should never be allowed to be forgotten. I share your passion in my country and salute you for penning such wonderful events.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Jannie D Thank you for reading this and commenting. A few years ago I ran across a book about the Galvanized Yankees at a sale. I also worked at the Rock Island Arsenal which is where one of the prison camps was located.There is a Confederate cemetery there as well because many died of smallpox.They are a part of the American west but not well known.


htodd profile image

htodd 4 years ago from United States

Thanks for the great post....


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Htodd. Thanks for the read and the comment.


ajwrites57 profile image

ajwrites57 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

Loved the story dahoglund! I enjoyed the tone and pace of the story. A simple soldier telling a story matter-of-factly. Thanks!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Ajwrites, thanks for reading and commenting. I tried to get the feeling of the narrator who is involved in thee vents.


klidstone1970 profile image

klidstone1970 3 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

This was fantastic and a joy to read. Definitely right up my alley. Thanks so much for a great read.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Kidstone, glad you enjoyed it.

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