A gentleman in Atlanta, Georgia, whom we will call Mack, had a well pretty much filled up with rubbish and trash of different kinds, which he wanted cleaned out. He spoke to a freedman about the job, and in a very confidential way intimated that there was a treasure hid in that well he was anxious to exhume. He imposed profound secrecy upon his sable help, and sent him off in search of another one of his hue who could be trusted. The upshot of the matter was that about one hundred negroes soon knew that an iron safe belonging to the express company, and which contained almost an invaluable amount of gold, had been precipitated into this well when the city was evacuated. The affair was speedily brought to the ears of the Provost Marshal and Mack on going to see about his well one morning, found it guarded by a strong provost guard, who forbade any one coming on the premises. Mack protested against any such proceeding, and persisted that everything on that lot, in the well and out of it, was his individual property. The Assistant Provost Marshal gave him an official wink, and intimated that ‘all was right.’ Mack thought if it was not, it would be in the end.
A strong posse of freedmen was sent down into the well to work. Bucketful after bucketful of rubbish and mud was drawn out; but no treasure as yet made its appearance. Occasionally the officer of the guard went down on a prospecting tour. In punching about with his bayonet he hit upon something that had the true metallic sound. They had the treasure now sure. Again the negroes went to work, and after laboring some hours succeeded in bringing out the top of an old tin-plate stove. At last the firm bottom of the well was reached, but no iron safe. Mack said he thought the safe was about ten feet further down. Whatever may have been the provost marshal’s opinion on the subject, he concluded he had not time to prosecute the search further, and withdrew his forces, leaving Mack in possession of a thoroughly cleansed well, and at liberty to hunt up the safe if he wanted to. Mack didn’t want to.
Originally posted 2009-01-10 20:35:11.