DIRECTOR   Slimperi Herzog


The reader is doubtless already acquainted with the name of William Jasper—perhaps Sergeant Jasper is the better known. This brave man possessed remarkable talents for a scout. He could wear all disguises with admirable ease and dexterity. Garden styles him " a perfect Proteus." He was equally remarkable for his cunning as for his bravery ; and his nobleness and generosity were, quite as much as these, the distinguished traits of his character. Such was the confidence in his fidelity and skill that a roving commission was granted him, with liberty to pick his associates from the brigade. Of these he seldom chose more than six. " He often went out," says Moultrie, " and returned with prisoners, before I knew that he was gone. I have known of his catching a party that was looking for him. He has told me that he could have killed single men several times, but he would not; he would rather let them get off. He went into the British lines at Savannah, as a deserter, complaining, at the same time, of our ill-usages of him ; he was gladly received (they having heard of his character) and caressed by them. He stayed eight days, and after informing himself well of their strength, situation and intentions, he returned to us again ; but that game he could not play a second tune. With his little party he was always hovering about the enemy's camp, and was frequently bringing in prisoners." It was while in the exercise of his roving privileges that Jasper prepared to visit the post of the enemy at Ebenezer. At this post he had a brother, who held the same rank in the British service, that he held in the American. This instance was quite too common in the history of the period and country, to occasion much surprise, or cause any suspicion of the integrity of either party. We have already considered the causes for this melancholy difference of individual sentiment in the country, and need not dwell upon them here. William Jasper loved his brother and wished to see him : it is very certain, at the same time, that he did not deny himself the privilege of seeing all around him. The Tory was alarmed at William's appearance in the British camp, but the other quieted his fears, by representing himself as no longer an American soldier. He checked the joy which this declaration excited in his brother's mind, by assuring him that, though he found little encouragement in fighting for his country, " he had not the heart to fight against her." Our scout lingered for two or three days in the British camp, and then, by a letour, regained that of the Americans ; reporting to his commander all that he had seen. He was encouraged to repeat his visit a few weeks after, but this time he took with him a comrade, one Sergeant Newton, a fellow quite as brave in spirit, and strong in body as himself. Here he was again well received by his brother, who entertained the guests kindly for several days. Meanwhile, a small party of Americans were brought into Ebenezer as captives, over whom hung the danger of " short shrift and sudden cord." They were on their way to Savannah for trial. They had taken arms with the British, as hundreds more had done, when the country was deemed reconquered ; but, on the approach of the American army, had rejoined their countrymen, and were now once more at the mercy of the power with which they had broken faith. "It will go hard with them," said the Tory Jasper to his Whig brother; but the secret comment of the other was, " it shall go hard with me first." There was a woman, the wife of one of the prisoners, who, with her child, kept them company. William Jasper and his friend were touched by the spectacle of their distress ; and they conferred together, as soon as they were alone, as to the possibility of rescuing them. Their plan was soon adopted. It was a simple one, such as naturally suggests itself to a hardy and magnanimous character. The prisoners had scarcely left the post for Savannah, under a guard of eight men, a sergeant and corporal, when Jasper and his friend departed also, though in a different direction from the guard. Changing their course when secure from observation, they stretched across the country and followed the footsteps of the unhappy captives. But it was only in the pursuit that they became truly conscious of the difficulty, nay, seeming impossibility, of effecting then- object. The guard was armed, and ten in number ; they but two and weaponless.