10. A PERILOUS ADVENTURE
ONE FINE afternoon, after a march of twenty-two miles over a rocky road, and finding our provisions low, Mr. Bailey and Jack went out to shoot wild turkeys. As they shouldered their guns and walked away, Captain Ogilby called out to them, ‘‘“Do not go too far from camp.”’’
Jack returned at sundown with a pair of fine turkeys, but Bailey failed to come in. However, as they all knew him to be an experienced woodsman, no one showed much anxiety, until, darkness had settled over the camp. Then they began to signal, by discharging their rifles; the officers went out in various directions, giving “halloos,” and firing at intervals, but there came no sound of the missing man.
The camp was now thoroughly alarmed. This was too dangerous a place for a man to be wandering around in all night, and search-parties of soldiers were formed. Trees were burned, and the din of rifles, constantly discharged, added to the excitement. One party after another came in. They had scoured the country—and not a trace of Bailey.
Finally, after hours of the keenest anxiety, a noise of gladsome shouts rang through the trees, and in came party of men with the young officer on their shoulders. His friend Craig had been untiring in the search, and at last had heard a faint “halloo” in the distance, and one shot (the only cartridge poor Bailey had left).
After going over almost impassable places, they finally found him lying at the bottom of a ravine. In the black darkness of the evening, he had walked directly over the edge of a chasm and fallen to the bottom, dislocating his ankle.
He was some miles from camp, and had used up all his ammunition except the one cartridge. He had tried in vain to walk or even crawl out of the ravine, but had finally been overcome by exhaustion and lay there helpless, in the wild fastnesses of the mountains.
A desperate situation, indeed! Some time afterwards, he told me how he felt, when he realized how poor his chances were, when he saw he had only one cartridge left and found that he had scarce strength to answer a “halloo,” should he hear one. But soldiers never like to talk much about such things.