The brevetted Lieutenant is on his way back to New Babbage before proceeding to New Caledon to pay back his last three months as a research clerk. His journals and photographs were in a packet mailed from Galveston before his conveyance, a mail ship with a diplomatic berth, was due to depart. I publish here a few excerpts snipped from his recollections.
22 March; We marched directly toward Red River Station, driving right into the center of the contested area. Outlying farm families had been killed and their buildings burnt, with garrisoned out posts spotting more and more Indian outriders. We proceeded with the Color Guard, armed with Henry’s Rifles, in the van, the two companies in column behind, my charges and me, and the Supply Wagons and the Provost, also armed with Henries cuddling the rear.
4 April; …and to our right traveled a wagon driven by an odd little man in a odd hat, a sugar loaf with hardly any brim to it, scrawny and wiry, itchy, going by Mr. Oddbody. No one believed it was his real name. In his wagon he carried the Oddbody Omniopticon, a large iron disk, like a cheese wheel, about two meters in diameter on the flat bed of the wagon, tied down with cable and rope, and giving the axles h—.
12 April; We were approaching the old Fort Richardson site, closed in the late ’70’s, and the Colonel decides it’s far enough. He called for Oddbody and told to to earn his pay. The little conjurer reined his tired horses and pulled up ahead of the Color Guard who were busy resting in place. The sun was almost overhead when he fired his boilers and started his tinkering, and it had slid down considerable by the time he released the steam. The top of the cheese wheel opened like the petals of a flower, and blocky table, festooned with lensed tubes, rose slowly on the spire of a metals spike spun out of the center of a coiled roll of wide metal sheeting.
Color guard, forward march. Battalion, assemble on the Colors. Companies, deploy wings, right and left oblique, (your other left oblique Captain Khrensh! ) march. Battalion, halt. Battalion, on the center file, as skirmishers, deploy. Battalion, ground arms. Battalion, drop packs. Rest. Officers and NCO’s report to Quarters.