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Sunday, 2 April 1865, Richmond, Virginia
The nine-block walk west along East Broad Street from the First African Church at the corner of College and East Broad was strangely bustling this Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. The previous Sunday had been quiet at this time. In fact, Temple’s, where Eaton Matthews lived and worked, at Grace and 4th Street, had existed in a garden of quietude the previous week. There had been a period of frenetic evacuation of the Confederate capital by wagon and train during the previous two weeks, and then those determined to stay had hunkered down and remained indoors.
For some reason, though, the movement out of the city had started again this morning in earnest. Eaton wondered if the remaining residents of the city knew something he didn’t. That didn’t surprise him. He lived in a bubble in Richmond. He rarely left Temple’s at all. The early Sunday morning service at the First African Church was virtually the only place he was permitted to go on his own. Any other sojourns outside of the house on Grace were limited-distance errands assigned by Thomas Temple. There were no physical chains on Eaton, but the psychological chains were a matter of clearly understood reality.
Eaton hadn’t known any other life, nor could he imagine any other life, than slavery.
He preferred it when the streets were deserted for the nine-block walk along the main thoroughfare on a Sunday morning. He was always embarrassed and slightly fearful of the regard he was given by those he passed on the street. All of the sons of the Confederacy who were his age—barely nineteen—were out in the field, fighting the troops of aggression from the North. Those who weren’t in regular units somewhere else now were down in Petersburg, twenty-three miles to the south, helping General Lee hold the outer defense lines of the city. Eaton wasn’t there, helping to defend the city. He was here, strutting, or so it seemed, down one of the main streets of Richmond.
What he felt like screaming at those giving him judgmental looks on the street—while knowing he couldn’t possibly take that liberty—was that he couldn’t fight for the Confederacy, even if he wanted to do so, which he didn’t. He had nothing to gain either way; he had no choice in the matter. He was a slave. He had no choice in what he did. And few slaves were fighting for the Confederacy. They increasingly could not be trusted to fight for the Confederacy and with slaves slipping off left and right, the work of those who remained had become a necessity for their masters.
The issue with Eaton was that he wasn’t fully black. He was a quadroon—one-fourth black—and that one fourth was recessive. He was the spitting image of a young James Matthew, his natural-born white father. And his mother was the daughter of a black slave woman and a white plantation owner father. Eaton had been raised in the plantation house. For those on the street, he appeared to be a small, but very fit and attractive, white patrician. And thus he appeared to be a shirker of his duty to the Confederacy, a Confederacy that everyone in Richmond realized, but would not openly acknowledge, was entering its death throes.
In response, Eaton hurried his pace, dodging between people making trips from row houses in the Fan District to wagons at the curb, while residents decided what they needed to take with them when they deserted a city that they fully believed would soon be in flames.
He was flushed and nearly on the run when he mounted the stairs of the large row house at Grace and 4th and entered the foyer, where Thomas Temple was impatiently awaiting his return.
“Good, you are here. There is a young man here for you.”
Eaton looked at the hands of the grandfather clock in the foyer to ensure that it not yet was 11:00 in the morning, a Sunday morning. That was when his time, in the only morning that he had his own time before once more becoming fully chained to Thomas Temple’s time, ran out. It was not much later than 10:00, but Eaton dare not point that out to Temple. There was, in fact, no time that wasn’t Thomas Temple’s time.
“Where is he?” Eaton asked.
“In your room, waiting for you. It’s the cavalry captain who has asked for you before when you were not available. I doubt if he is patiently waiting.”
“The city is on the move again,” Eaton said. “I saw many wagons being loaded on my way from church. Could that mean—?”
“It’s inevitable that Lee can’t hold in Petersburg for much longer,” Temple said. “It’s nearly time for me to put the other flag out and put the photographs of my Philadelphia relatives out on the piano.”
“We will be staying in the city?”
“Of course we will. Union soldiers are as much men, with men’s needs, as Confederate soldiers are.”
Eaton didn’t dare mention that Union troops occupying Richmond would make a crucial difference in at least one regard—his own status. He doubted that Temple even thought that the fall of the capital meant the realization of emancipation for him. He would be free in fact, free of a master and of casino şirketleri the obligations of his life between these four walls.
But then, as if Temple could see Eaton’s thoughts in his face, he said. “When the Union troops get here, you can, of course, leave this house. But don’t think you can leave this life. I can give you protection and limit the demands on you. If you choose to leave here and make your own life on the streets, you’d best give second thoughts to what you lose and gain. You may think that men in the North are fighting for your freedom, but they are men like any men and will use you like any other man would. This city will be laid open to their ravishing just as any conquered city is. What you give here in exchange for protection, food, and lodging will be taken from you in the streets without compensation.”
He, of course, was right, Eaton knew. Although a black slave, Eaton had been educated and taught to think and to deliberately consider what his limits were and how he best could maneuver within them. He knew he couldn’t just jump at freedom in a city under occupation by troops who had had to fight hard and had seen comrades die in the stubbornness of this city to give in. He knew that, if Temple could give him protection, his safest place until the city settled down again was here.
“I will go up to this cavalry officer then,” he said, as he started up the stairs to his bedroom on the second floor, the most presentable of the bedrooms in keeping with the higher demand for his services by men in the wartime capital even than those of Temple’s women prostitutes.
Eaton could tell that the man was agitated when he entered the room. He had already taken off his boots and his blue broadcloth trousers with the yellow stripe going down the leg and folded and placed them on a straight chair. Similarly, his gray jacket was folded and placed on top of the trousers. He had shrugged out of his bibbed shirt and had his hands on the buttons of his underdrawers fly. He must have started unbuttoning those when he heard Eaton on the stairs.
He’d been pacing the room with nervous energy, and although the scent coming off of him was a manly musk, Eaton could sense something else in it—impatience and fear.
He was a young, handsome devil, much better put together than most of the men who visited Eaton’s room. His chest was muscular, his waist narrow. His features were patrician South, his hair, including the tufts under his bulging pecs and on his forearms, were a sandy blond. He had unbuttoned enough of his fly for Eaton to see the same shade of reddish blond in his pubic bush.
“You have made me wait,” the Confederate captain growled as Eaton entered the room.
“I’m sorry, sah,” Eaton answered. “I was at church. I normally don’t work on Sunday mornings.”
“Well, don’t make me wait now. Unclothe yourself and be quick about it and service me.”
“Yes, sah,” Eaton answered, hastening to strip down and sink between the man’s spread thighs where he now sat on the side of the bed. The soldier had his cock out and in his hand. It was above average size and girth, able to stand proud against most of the black bull field slaves who had fucked Eaton in the cornfields for their and Eaton’s pleasure. It was half hard when Eaton took it in his mouth and started to suck on it and to move his mouth up and down on it, encasing it a bit deeper each time he sank his mouth on it.
The man initially leaned back on his elbows and groaned his arousal and satisfaction with Eaton’s technique in sucking the cock, a skill taught to him by John Matthews. Eaton could feel the soldier relaxing and becoming less agitated. After a few minutes, he rose back up off his elbows and leaned over Eaton’s back, while the young slave continued to harden, lengthen, and thicken the man’s cock with his mouth, taking the mouth off the cock from time to time to lick, swallow, and suck on two plump balls. The cavalry officer moaned at the latter attention and ran his hands down Eaton’s back and his sleek flanks.
“You are good at the suck,” he murmured. “How old are you?”
“Just nineteen, sah,” Eaton answered as he moved from the balls back to the shaft. The man leaned farther over Eaton’s back and ran his rough, calloused hands onto Eaton’s buttocks as he knelt between the man’s thighs. The soldier squeezed and separated the buttocks, the index fingers of both hands searching for and finding the rim of Eaton’s ass entrance. Eaton groaned, shuddered, and trembled, not all of it feigned to please the client. This man was younger, more muscular, and more handsome than most Eaton was called upon to service.
He also was taking longer than most in the foreplay. Most of the men Eaton lay under could be on top of him, inside him, seeding him, and back out in under fifteen minutes.
Withdrawing from the tease of Eaton’s entrance, the man’s hands returned to gliding over and massaging Eaton’s torso as the young man continued to alternate his attentions between the hard shaft and the man’s balls.
“You have casino firmaları some darky in you, I surmise,” the man muttered.
“Yes, sah. I’m a quadroon. My father is white as was my mammy’s father.”
“Raised on a plantation?”
“Yes, sah, Wellington Place, on the James, down toward Williamsburg.”
“I know the place and the family. You are James Matthew’s bastard then, are you?”
“I knew him well. A good family. He teach you to suck like this?”
“No, sah. His brother, John, a preacher man.”
The man laughed. “I can see the Matthews in you—except for the chocolate and cream skin. You are a right beautiful young piece. You learn to fuck good in your nineteen years? You are very young.”
“Men seem to enjoy me, sah.” Eaton gasped as he said this. The man had spat on the fingers of one of his hands, which he had returned to and had invaded Eaton’s ass passage. The man laughed again. “You open right up to me.”
“Yes, sah. You are a big man, but I won’t give you any trouble getting in. I’ve been here at Temple’s since the summer,” Eaton answered, which the cavalry officer took as reason enough that the young man would open so quickly.
“Well, let’s see what you have learned since the summer,” the officer said.
He was lying on his back on the bed, his feet on the floor at the side of the bed, with Eaton, facing him, sitting on his cock, his arms slung back, his hands gripping the man’s knees as he leaned back and rose and fell on the hard, buried cock, when there was a knock on the door. Without waiting for an answer Thomas Temple stuck his head in the room. What he saw didn’t give him a second thought. It was what he expected to be going on in the room.
“Excuse me, Captain, but there is a courier here for you from the Executive House. You are needed immediately.”
“Needed? Now?” Captain Charles Singleton answered through gritted teeth, having come close to ejaculation. He raised his torso off the bed, grasped Eaton’s waist on either side, and began to pull him rapidly and brutally up and down on the cock to hasten toward the release of his seed. Eaton groaned deeply at the sudden increased demands of the thick, hard cock inside him.
“Yes, sir. The time has come.” Temple stood there, watching the quickened pace of the fuck with no more concern or interest than the joy of seeing two beautiful bodies in motion and the money it would produce for his accounts. “President Davis sends word that Lee’s defensive line in Petersburg has given way. The government must be away by 8:00 p.m., he says, or the government will be caught here.”
“Christ almighty,” Singleton declared, roughly pushing Eaton off to the side before his arousal was satisfied. He leaped up from the bed, grabbing for his clothes, and suddenly was all decisive action. “You have a wagon and a team?” he asked as he hurriedly dressed, the question posed to Temple.
“Yes, sir, of course.”
“I am requisitioning it for the day. And this young man here. Is he your slave?”
“Yes, sir, he is.”
“You know I am an aide to President Davis and speak with his authority?”
“Yes,” Temple answered, all cooperation and subservience.
“Good. I have need for this man’s service too. Have him bring your wagon around to the front. You may retrieve it from the Richmond and Danville rail depot on the river at 14th Street, below capitol hill, sometime after 8:00 tonight.”
“Yes, sir,” Temple answered, struggling to keep up with the captain’s directions and impressed both that an evacuation plan for the government obviously already was in place and that this cavalry captain had a key role in it. In the flurry of activity he didn’t ask if Eaton also could be retrieved at the rail depot that evening. Perhaps he should have posed that question.
* * * *
Captain Singleton didn’t wait at the Grace Street entrance for Eaton to bring the wagon around. He entered the stable shed behind the house as Eaton was harnessing up one of Temple’s two draft horses to the wagon.
“No, both of them, young man. They will have a heavy load to pull today.”
“Yes, sah,” Eaton answered. He had no idea why two horses would be needed, but he was just a slave; he knew it was no business of his to know white folks’ business.
“And my name is Charles Singleton,” the captain said. “I need to be able to communicate with you quickly. What is your name?”
“Eaton, sah. Eaton Matthews.”
“Ah, yes, of course,” Singleton said. “Now be sure to cinch those horses up tight, and bring fodder and water for them. They will be sorely taxed today. So will you and I.”
“Oh, and I’m not finished with you. I paid for release of my seed, and I mean to have it.”
“Yes, sah,” Eaton answered.
Singleton hadn’t lied about it being a taxing day. As Eaton got the horses to pull the wagon out onto 4th Street and Singleton got in beside him, Eaton asked, “Where to?”
“Main Street. The Bank district, between Capitol Hill and the river,” Singleton answered. Eaton güvenilir casino saw the man take his rifle out of its case and lay it across his lap.
“We expectin’ some trouble, Captain?”
“I hope not, but word will have gotten around the city of the break in the lines at Petersburg,” Singleton said, a grim expression on his face. “There will be folks without wagons of their own in the mood to take someone else’s today. They should have left days ago. The government as well, but they just didn’t believe this would happen.”
Sure enough, the mood was both frenetic and threatening once they got out to East Broad Street and started for Capitol Hill. More than once Singleton had to brandish his rifle to prevent panicked men from putting their hands on the bridles of the horses to try to commandeer the wagon. It was only eight blocks to the bank district, but the streets were clogged with panicking people, in wagons and on foot, coming at them, trying to escape the city to the west and south. Direct northern and eastern routes were already being blocked off by the Union Army.
Eaton had asked why Singleton’s goal was the Richmond and Danville line rail depot, as that line went south, toward Petersburg, before turning west rather than the Fredericksburg, Richmond, and Potomac line headed west at the western end of East Broad, but the captain just muttered that there was a plan. “We have to follow the plan.”
Progress improved within four blocks as they were met by a unit of soldiers who obviously were being sent to aid Captain Singleton. It became equally obvious that they were needed when Eaton was told to bring the wagon to a stop at Main and 10th Street, between the buildings of the Bank of Commonwealth and the Bank of Virginia. Soldiers and slaves, stripped down to their breeches, their muscular torsos slicked up with sweat from heavy work, already were here, at both banks, moving closed and locked leather boxes from the vaults in both banks out to the street. The Temple wagon wasn’t the only one there that was being loaded from the bank vaults.
“Over there, at the Bank of Virginia. Help them load this wagon,” Singleton commanded of Eaton, and the young slave moved to answer the command. If he had any question of what was being loaded into the wagons, that was answered when a slave, who was whipped and told to pull the case back together, dropped one of the leather boxes, which split, and gold bars and a mix of legal-looking papers spilled out onto the ground.
All during the afternoon and into the evening wagons were loaded at the banks, driven the few blocks down to the riverfront at the rail depot on 14th Street, and loaded into train cars. There were three locomotives, with a couple of passenger cars and three or four freight cars each, the fanciest of the trains not having been brought up until nearly dark—and much too near the 8:00 p.m. last safe departure time.
After cleaning out the vaults of the Commonwealth and Virginia banks, the wagons, including Eaton’s, were sent over to the remaining two Richmond banks, the Exchange Bank and the Farmer’s Bank, where they engaged in a more hurried, less comprehensive transferring of the bank assets from the vaults to the wagons. It already was 8:00 p.m., the latest time that General Lee had told President Jefferson Davis he could keep the Union troops from reaching the southern bank of the James, in the town of Manchester, across the James from Richmond.
Eaton and the others were still loading bank assets into two of the trains when they saw Davis and his cabinet and their families arrive and pile into the lead train, the fancier one that had been brought up last. It was after 9:00 p.m. when that train entered the 14th Street railroad bridge over the James, headed south, and churned away, turning west once across the river and following the river bank out of sight. A smattering of shots pinged off the train as it reached the southern bank of the river and turned toward Charlottesville on its way to Danville.
The young quadroon still was helping to load the last of the three trains when the second one clattered across the bridge, meeting heavier gunfire than the first had, shortly before 11:00 p.m. His arms were aching and his lungs burning from the hard work that he’d been protected from all of his life. Like all of the rest, including Singleton, he was stripped to the waist and sweating profusely as he helped lift heavy leather cases up into the freight car. Singleton didn’t just stand by and direct operations at the third train. He was everywhere, ordering and demanding and cajoling soldiers and slaves alike to get on with the loading and helping to carry cases himself.
Watching the god-like body of the young officer moving around in the uneven light of the railyard, Eaton almost regretted that they hadn’t completed their fuck in the brothel. Up until Temple had arrived, the captain had been taking his time with his cock inside Eaton, unlike most other clients, caressing Eaton’s shimmering walls with the hard shaft’s fat bulb, encouraging Eaton’s muscles to make love to the thick rod. Singleton hadn’t come yet, but Eaton had and was building to another ejaculation when they were interrupted. Even though it was a pay-for-service fuck, Eaton was looking forward to having it completed.
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