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Secrets of the Asylum Ch. 4 Part 1

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File Case 4: Murder in 1863 (Oct. 22, 2009)

Tim was looking through some records of the Civil War. He already knew the battles and what had happened. He knew a lot about what had happened. He liked to study history in his spare time. He was usually busy, but he had enough time to know a lot about what had happened, but at the same time there was too much for one man to know, so all he could do was keep searching for more knowledge, and he was especially interested in history that had taken place in Virginia, seeing as it was nearby and had been particularly important during the Civil War. One of the pieces of history that had taken place in Virginia was his wife’s genealogy. He may have been Irish, but his wife, Erin, was American. That’s why Tim found a piece of information that he would remember for the rest of his life.

He looked into the preserved journal of a Union Civil War doctor named Joseph Reed. It read as follows. “I removed a bullet from commander Laurence. I was surprised to find that the bullet had three rings rather than two, leading me to believe that the bullet was fired by a Confederate assassin rather than the Union traitor Martin, however, the other men insist that Martin Gregory was working for the Confederates so they executed him despite my opposition.”
***

“So has anyone killed anybody today?” Jake asked Nick as they both sat down in Nick’s apartment for some steaming coffee.

“We haven’t had a single call from Captain Steel, but don’t forget that we can also be hired by other people. We may be private consultants, but we’re also private investigators,” Nick explained.

Just then there was an urgent knock on the door. “There might be someone in need of our services now,” Nick stated as he went to the door.

“Nick, Jake I need your help,” Tim said as Nick opened the door.

“What is it Tim?” Nick asked, while at the same time closing the door.

“My great, great, grandfather in law was executed for killing his commanding officer, but I think that he was framed, but I can’t prove it, so I need your help to prove that he was innocent,” Tim blurted out.

“Calm down, and then we need all of the details,” Nick said as he lead Zach to a nearby, white chair.

After that Tim explained all that he had read, from the doctor’s journal and then he explained what he had found later trying to find his own proof. He had found the charge against Martin.

The charge didn’t have any evidence to back it up, except for a cook who had claimed that around dawn on a Sunday morning he had been stirring up some soup on the south side of the officer’s tent. He heard two gun shots and looked in to see the image of Martin shoot his commanding officer, reflected in a mirror. Then the cook rushed in to see Martin holding a pistol.

After having all of the facts Nick sat down for a moment and suggested a plan. “What we need to do is organize this, since this crime happened a long time ago we need to take a second look at the information from that time, rather than trying to find much scientific evidence. So Jake you need to go down to the area where this whole affair started. Tim and I will look through the library, but Tim before we even get started I have to be honest with you, there is very little chance of us finding any evidence.”
***

“So this is where it all happened,” Jake muttered to himself.

He scanned his surroundings. He was on a hill, one of the many that peppered Virginia. It was the perfect place for a civil war army to camp. He could see a branch of the Rappahannock river in the distance. Yes, the perfect place to camp, fresh water for soldiers to drink and green hills for horses to graze on. So upon seeing this place was without a doubt the area that Tim had directed him to.
Jake held his metal detector in one hand gently moving it back and forth as he moved forward with a book about the civil war propped up on the edges of his fingertips from the other hand. He was multi-tasking as he read about the daily routine, of the men in the particular patrol that he was examining.

The men had been behind enemy lines and therefore had had to be careful, but they had the area cleared, so they could do their rifle drills at dawn. They could also march, but they didn’t go too far away from the camp alone.

Just then Jake’s metal detector went off without warning. He looked down, after a little clawing at the dirt he unearthed what he was looking for. It was a shard of metal from a tent pole that had been thrust into the ground many years ago. This would be the area that he would begin excavating. So he made an X on the ground, then moved over to where he had left his shovel.

Finally after an hour or two of digging Jake unearthed something of value. It was a note (sealed away in a leather case) written by a spy, presumably the one that infiltrated the camp.
The note read, “I am in the camp, they are positioned past the Rappahannock, and there are only about three score of men. They don’t have any heavy artillery, but they do have a light cavalry. They have a commanding officer named commander Laurence, you will know him, if you see a man with a large red mustache, but no hair atop his head, and you will know his tent, because it is the biggest and most decorated. It has a night stand made of oak next to his bed, a single mirror located on the inner south wall of his tent, and a desk also made of oak, located on the East side of his tent.”

“Interesting,” Jake mused to himself.
***

At about the same time Nick and Tim were at an old library. Tim was searching through a thick volume entitled, The Civil War, meanwhile Nick was reading a pile of smaller books when Nick unexpectedly posed a question.

“Have you found anything interesting yet?”

“Not particularly,” Tim replied honestly. “I’ve only found what I already knew, that the men had target practice at dawn, that the cook was the only witness and other simple evidence that we’ve already found.”

“I’ve found something of interest,” Nick stated. “According to this book one of the many traitors caught by the Union was the cook that supposedly witnessed the whole affair, he was caught trying to stow an confederate gun in his pudding, and he had supposedly planned to use it to kill a high ranking officer. Please don’t say that the proof is in the pudding.”

“That is interesting,” Tim replied as a glimmer of hope for redeeming his family name shown in his eyes. “So what do we do now?”

“Now, we do what all Americans do when they have a lot of work ahead of them, we’re going to get lunch.”
***

Once Nick and Jake were eating fresh at Subway Jake posed the question that Nick had expected him to ask. “So where is Tim?”

“He said that he was going to his house to get some things,” Nick replied.

Just then the door opened and Tim walked in with a small bag cradled under his arm. He sat down next to Jake and across from Nick with an excited look on his face. “I remembered that my dad used to collect Civil War artifacts, he’s the one that got me interested in history, but he wouldn’t tell me why, so I looked through his stuff and found that he was looking for stuff related to the case that we’re working on. My guess is that he found the same article as me, but unfortunately he didn’t have two friends to help him.”

Before Nick or Jake could respond Tim began delicately pulling various artifacts from the recesses of the bag. “These are the pliers that the doctor used to extract the bullet from commander Laurence, this is the bullet that was extracted, I also have my great great grandfather’s gun in this bag, but I shouldn’t show it to you in here. I also have a note from Commander Laurence to his wife. Nick would you mind taking the bullet into ballistics and telling them that I sent you, so that you can examine the bullet more closely. Oh! I almost forgot, the note reads as follows. Dear, Isabelle, life isn’t that bad here. It’s a little dangerous, but the fields are good here, and the water is good too, it is truly a land of plenty. I am also particularly pleased with the men, they are a truly promising patrol. All I have to give them in return is some kindness…”

At that point in the reading of the letter Nick interjected, “I just realized, the cook must have been lying! You see, the cook claimed that he saw your great great grandfather holding the gun on a mirror, and that he heard the gun go off, but neither of those make since, because first of all he said that he was on the south side of Commander Laurence’s tent, but the mirror was on the inner south wall, so there’s no way that he could have seen the mirror.”

“And the men were having target practice at the same time so a gunshot wouldn’t stand out,” Jake said as he realized another fact.

At that moment Nick got up to throw away his trash, and as he did so, Jake got up too, so Nick quickly clapped Jake on the back heartily. “Good job, I had forgotten about the target practice.”

Jake foolishly returned the enthusiasm by clapping Nick soundly on the shoulder…the left shoulder.

Nick yelled in sudden pain and instinctively jerked his elbow to the side, knocking the breath completely out of Jake.

Nick’s face quickly returned to normal and he was soon at Jake’s side, worry evident on his face. “I’m sorry, did I break any bones?”

Jake tried to block the pain, and slowly stood up, attempting to force that one brief moment out of his mind. “So you think that it was the cook that framed Martin?”

“Yes, but we don’t have enough evidence, so you two need to keep looking for evidence at the library,” Nick replied.

“Wonderful!” Tim exclaimed. “I can’t wait to prove my great great grandfather’s innocence.”

After that Tim left forgetting completely about lunch.
***

After leaving Subway and driving over to the library on his motorcycle Jake found himself looking through endless books and preserved documents. Some of the documents were old, and some of them were very old, but to Jake they all looked alike. They were all documents made during a much slower age, where information was treasured rather than dismissed in exchange for a National Enquirer or Celebrity magazine. So naturally it didn’t take long for Jake’s eyelids to start drooping, luckily however Jake did not fall asleep at the library desk, because before that could happen Tim asked a question that jerked him completely back to consciousness faster than a coffee could have.

“Have you called Rachel yet?”

Thinking of a response quickly, but carefully Jake replied. “Not yet, I prefer face to face communication, besides Nick gave her my phone number, so it would be awkward for me to call her, rather than her calling me. I would sort of sound like a stalker.”

“I understand,” Tim replied knowingly. “Oh yes, I almost forgot, we still have to find proof that it was the cook who framed Martin, so this letter that I didn’t finish reading might help, it reads. Dear, Isabelle, life isn’t that bad here. It’s a little dangerous, but the fields are good here, and the water is good too. I am also particularly pleased with the men, they are a truly promising patrol. All I have to give them in return is some kindness. I let them have as much water as they want from the river, and they don’t have to do drills on Sunday, but at the same time I have to have some strictness, otherwise they would rebel and raid. For example one of my men, a man by the name of Martin, went out and got too drunk to drill in the morning, so I had to punish him, but I still think that they like me. Which is good, because I can see where they might be jealous, after all my tent does have a night stand made out of oak, which matches with my desk, I also have one mirror and now since you sent me the other one I have two, and of course I have a bed with plenty of sheets, among other things that the men don’t have. Still I’m fine here, I miss you every day and I miss my home, but you and I both know that people who don’t obey the Constitution should be punished like a criminal even if they are made up of states full of people, so I have to teach those southerners a lesson, therefore I’ll stay here as long as the general wants me to.”

“Interesting, but it doesn’t really help us does it,” Jake said.

“Oh, so I suppose that you have found something better have you?” Tim inquired with one of his red eyebrows raised.

“Possibly,” Jake replied with a smug look creeping onto his face. “I’ve found this document that says, dear Mr. Henry, we thank you for your cooperation with the Confederacy. Your posing as a cook in an enemy patrol is very helpful, so we will reward you if you follow the following directions exactly as follows. First you must give us a letter that includes who the commander is, how many men he commands, what the commander looks like, how to locate him, and where exactly your camp is located. Bring the letter to Richmond, then go into the first pub that you see. Once inside go to the back of the pub and look for a man who appears to be asleep, and has long gray hair hanging down over his face. If you see him, say it’s beautiful out tonight grandpa, you should be out enjoying the stars. He will follow you outside, once you two are outside he will lead you to a secret area, only then will you hand over your message. However if he is not there go up to the bartender and say to him, ‘I would like my usual’. In response he will say I don’t remember you, I don’t know what your usual is. To reply you will say, oh, my mistake, this pub looks very much like the one that I usually go to. I’ll just have a beer. After that drink the beer and when no one’s watching remove the mug’s false bottom, then insert your message in the mug and replace the false bottom. After that go back to your camp, and bury this note.”

“Yes, this proves without a doubt that the cook was a spy, so he probably tried to frame my great, great grandfather, so that he could draw attention away from himself!” Tim exclaimed as fast as it was possible to say.

Glancing at the can of Mountain Dew next to Tim’s elbow Jake said. “You might want to slow down with that Mountain Dew.”

“No, I’m fine.” Tim blurted out in less than a quarter of a second.





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