It was hard to talk while riding at such a rate of speed, and soon the conversation came to an end. The horses now showed plain evidence of their long journey, but each rider kept his steed at his best.
It was after two o'clock in the morning when the fort came into view, dark and silent in the midst of the plain surrounding it. Benson now rode in advance.
"Halt!" came the sudden command, while the scout was still a hundred yards from the stockade. The command was loud and clear, but the speaker was invisible.
"It's all right, friend," answered the old scout. "It's me, Sam Benson. Let me in, quick, I've news for the colonel."
"All right, Benson," was the answer. "But who is that behind you?"
"Joe Moore and Darry Germain. Is the colonel sleeping?"
"The colonel is very sick."
"What's the trouble?"
"The surgeon can't make out exactly. He's in a sort of stupor, and they can't rouse him."
By this time the stockade gate was open, and all three of our friends lost no time in entering the