The young man’s passport said he was from the Brazilian Empire, but he didn’t see himself as Brazilian. He was the son of a Confederado planter from the Norris Colony. His father had prospered in Brazil, as had many of the Confederados, and although the family was not as wealthy as Col. Norris family, it was comfortable. James Smith the third had been educated at the private Confederado university in Sao Paulo, it’s professors drawn from former officers of the Confederate States Army and Navy who themselves had attended or taught at universities across the south or the US Military Academy at West Point before the war. James Senior had developed a business relationship with a firm in Vancouver, and young James (he no longer went by Jimmy) had been dispatched to the rocky western coasts of Canada to help him learn the family business, and also to give him an opportunity to avoid certain obligations to a Brazilian family.
Since the Confederados and their families were still not allowed to legally return to the United States James had decided to travel by ship to the curiously named town of Bluefields on the eastern shore of Nicaragua and take the train across the isthmus. Although the United States had a great deal of influence over the Central Americans it was unable to prevent the flow of commerce. On landing James spent a night in the best hotel in Bluefields and happened across a copy of the city’s newspaper of record, mentioning that James Wilberforce Stratton from Massachusetts was now the consulate chief in Rivas on the far shore of Lake Nicaragua. It was a name that James recognized on instantly. His father had nearly fought a duel in the streets of Washington against the man’s father, 30 years before, just before the start of the war, and had then faced him again, two years later on the battlefield outside Savannah. It was after having been forced to retreat from the battlefield wounded that James Smith the first had taken ship to escape to Brazil, along with his young wife, a great deal of gold, and a desire for vengeance.