New Western Adventure Story
The life and times of Marshall Luke Johnson
by a. j. Lombardi Copyright © 2019 All Rights Reserved
My Name Ain’t Yankee
“Why thank you Beth, “I hope all goes well for you and dooly appreciate your offer to pray for me!”
After leaving the Randall homestead I figured that I would go back to the campsite, pick up the dead bodies and head to the Sheriff’s office. I used one of the dead men’s own horse to bring them both back into town. Once I arrived at the Sheriff’s office, I saw seven Union cavalry horses tied outside. Upon entering the office there were seven soldiers led by a man who Sheriff Hockshaw introduced as Lieutenant Michael Williams. I in turn introduced myself as Sargent Luke Johnson, formerly under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman of 13th infantry regiment. The Lieutenant stood forward and said, “Why aren’t you wearing your uniform soldier!” I answered, “Sir, my enlistment ended after the occupation of Atlanta. I did volunteer to stay on to the end right up to Savanah. I started with General Sherman at the battle of Bull Run and happy to say made it through right to the end!” The Lieutenant quickly snapped his heals and said, “Then I salute you sir for your bravery and service! “I myself did not enter the conflict until 1864. I am proud to say that I was under the command of General Sheridan and helped crush General Jubal Early’s cavalry at the Shenandoah Valley campaign.
After a few exchanges of the battlefield talk I informed Sheriff Hockshaw of what had transpired regarding the stolen horses and the fate of the two dead men outside. Sheriff Hockshaw jumped off his seat, turned to me and shouted, “So, Yankee boy, are your telling me that you have two dead men on the street just outside my office?” “Did you kill those men to Yankee boy?” It appears that men seem to go about dying whenever your around! “Sheriff, “You know I did not kill that man in the saloon. He plum shot himself to end his own misery! “Now there you go getting all riled up again, “I’m just fooling with you Yankee boy!
Upon viewing the dead bodies along with Lieutenant Williams, the Lieutenant turned to me and said, “This is your lucky day Sargent Johnson! There was a dead or alive bounty on these two renegades. In fact, we have been on their trail for three months without success. These men were responsible for murdering two of my own men, stealing their horses, uniforms and guns. I was just informed by a former local Confederate soldier that his young wife was their latest victim. For over one year they have been pretending to act as Union soldiers. They have left a scourge throughout Montana and the surrounding territories. By killing them you have done your country and fellow man a good deed!
There is a strong need for law and order in these parts. It surely is a job for more than one man. Sheriff Hockshaw needs help. If your willing, I have the authority to swear you in on behalf of the federal government to act as a Federal Marshall. Seeing that you have already done your duty, I know it is more than your country can ask but I assure you that you will be compensated. Besides I forgot to tell you that you will getting the thousand dollar reward for bringing in those two renegades. Please think on it Sargent. I will need your answer by tomorrow noon. My boys and I will be cutting out to meet up with our unit then. “One more thing Sargent, I think the name “Marshall Luke Johnson” fits you just like that shiny Colt 44 on your side belt does!
Leaving the Sheriff’s office I went by the dead renegades in front. I looked at them, and untied the reins giving the horse a slap. They did not deserve to be buried alongside the dead husband of Mrs. Beth Randall. Maybe the buzzards and wolves would give them the proper burial they deserved. I had a lot to think about. For now, I just needed a bath, shave and maybe a good sized steak from the Dove Tree saloon. Knowing that I would be receiving a thousand dollar reward made me feel a little better about ordering that steak.
After cleaning up that afternoon I headed over to the Dove Tree. Strangest thing, on the way over I could have sworn I heard a distant voice singing a gospel song. I know it was real because I did not have a drink yet. Anyway, I just moseyed along to the saloon. When I entered the front door, the room became suddenly quiet. People were staring at me. A gal came over and placed a bottle and glass in front of me. She then said “On the house Mr. Luke. The room full of people then returned to their regular talk, song and dancing. Something was very strange. People walking by me would nod or give me a friendly hello. I could not for the life of me figure out why. In the far corner of the saloon sat three confederate soldiers in tattered uniforms bearing their firearms. I remembered that General Grant allowed the confederate soldiers to leave the surrender at Arlington with their arms. They kept on staring in my direction. The last thing I wanted now was a confrontation…
Please note that this is an ongoing story that will contain several additional parts that will continue to be published until it's completion.