Civil War Transcendence, part 293


As I paralleled the Valley Pike to the south and got closer to the fighting between Captain Edwards and the front of the Yankee column, I saw about 10 Yankee Cavalry troopers that were below my position and facing west getting ready to charge the right flank of our position. All the noise from the fighting had covered my movement through the woods.

I quickly pulled two pistols from my belt, turned Stonewall toward the Yank contingent and put his reins in my teeth. I nudged his flanks with my knees and bent over next to his neck. Stonewall surged downhill toward the Yanks.


I let out a muffled yell when directly behind the far left of their line and fired my pistols until they clicked empty. I saw two men unhorsed and a third slump in his saddle. The rest of the Yanks fled toward their lines as I directed Stonewall toward Captain Edwards’ line of men.

Our boys saw me flush the Yanks from their flank and gave me covering fire as I raced toward our lines.  I guess the suddenness of my attack caught the main Yankee line by surprise, because they didn’t fire at me immediately. By the time they recovered, our boys were pouring a volley into their position, causing them to duck for cover.

I rode behind the hill that masked me from Yankee fire and asked a soldier where Captain Edwards was located. He pointed to the middle of their line, and I nudged Stonewall in that direction.

I found Captain Edwards directing the fire of his men and quickly dismounted in the back of a hill that was his main position. Running toward him, I yelled his name and he turned and smiling said, “Well, Lieutenant, have you come to enjoy the show?”

I smiled back and said, “No Capt’n. Ya need to get outta here as fast as ya can.”

He quipped back, “Tha Yanks got me pinned down and I can’t move toward Crampton’s Gap.”

“Capt’n, ya can get outta here by going up tha mountain gap to tha east of tha town that lays behind your line.”

I pointed to the slender break in the trees at the top of South Mountain and said, “That’s Brownsville Gap. When ya get to the top of the mountain, ya can follow the ridgeline to Crampton’s Gap or go on down the far side of the mountain and head north on the road at the eastern base of the mountain and rendezvous with us at Burkittsville.  But ya gotta pull out now and hightail it up tha mountain.”

Captain Edwards immediately called for his First Sergeant and began to pull troops out of line and hurry them in squads toward Brownsville and the road up the mountain

As I mounted Stonewall, I looked west and the best route to get to our westernmost company under Captain Jameson.


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Civil War Transcendence, part 292


My mind raced for a moment trying to find a solution. I quickly turned to Mosby and asked, “Can you hold Townsend Road to the north and here in the middle?”

“I ‘spect we’ll have to,” he replied. “What cha gonna do?”

“I’m gonna go down tha farm lane back in tha woods that leads from Gapland Road and parallels tha Valley Pike and try to extract Capt’n Edwards’  and Capt’n Jameson’s companies.”

Mosby nodded and said, “Better get on with it.”

I gave him a quick salute, turned Stonewall toward the southeast and gave him a nudge with my knees. He exploded like a 12 pound round out of a brass cannon. I held on for dear life.


We rode up and over a small hillock as we cut diagonally southwest to the farm lane that ran south from Gapland Road and was hidden in the wood line next to the base of South Mountain.  There was a small ridge line that hid our line of departure. Once we hit Gapland Road, the farm lane was visible. I pointed Stonewall toward it and we flew like the wind.  This lane was what we had utilized when I directed Capt’n Edwards men south to their deployment site the night before, which seemed like a hundred years ago.

As we came to the end of the lane and the three cabins that we had encountered on the previous ride, I pulled Stonewall to a halt and walked him forward to the edge of the tree line.  Looking out on the Valley Pike, I could see the Yank column out in front of me. At least two regiments of infantry were beginning to deploy into battle lines for an advance.

Looking southward about a quarter of a mile, I could see that Captain Edwards had wisely dismounted his forces and distributed them on a knoll alongside the Valley Pike. They had some good cover, but there was no way they could skirt the Yankee column to the west or the east without getting shot all to pieces.

I looked further south and saw a small village on the Valley Pike behind Edwards’ position.  Something came to mind about that village, but I couldn’t pull it out of my memory.  Then, it came to me like a rush. That had to be the hamlet of Brownsville. In my universe during the Civil War Time Period there was a Brownsville Gap.  I just hoped it still existed.

I turned Stonewall to the south and we weaved in and out of trees through the woods that lay at the base of South Mountain. Since there was no farm lane to follow, it was slow going, but we were hidden from the Yanks on the Valley Pike. I just hoped I could get to Captain Edwards in time to get him out of the path of the juggernaut headed his way.


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Civil War Transcendence, part 291



It took me only a moment to realize Mosby was trying to extricate himself from the fight and retreat toward Crampton’s Gap.  He was being sorely pressed by a contingent of the Yank cavalry, and also it looked like Yank infantry was forming to advance against him.

I rode back toward Reedy’s company and found that they had pulled back to the east side of the Valley Pike. They were deploying on some hills to staunch a Union advance in this sector of the battle.

As I arrived in the rear of Reedy’s men, I spied him directing his men’s avenues of fire whenever the Yanks appeared on the scene.

I yelled at him, “Mosby’s in a bad way. He’s being hard pressed just to tha south. Let’s give him some relief and then we can all retreat to tha gap.”

He liked the idea of getting out of here and yelled, “Be right with ya, Lieutenant.”

He turned to his men and yelled for them to remount and form up in a column of twos. I joined him at the front of his men. He commanded us to head out. We moved off at a gallop.

We could hear a lot of shooting as we moved down the Valley Pike toward Gapland.  I pointed to the east and Reedy took us off the Valley Pike and behind some hills that shielded us from the Yank column in Gapland.  As we rode around the pond where Stonewall applied the coup de grace to Mr. Hawks, we found Mosby’s men on top of the prominent hill in this area, shooting westward toward the Yanks. Mosby turned to see us ride up and grinned from ear to ear. He motioned for us to stay where we were and he walked down to us.

Nodding toward us he said, “Capt’n Reedy, Jim, y’all are a sight for sore eyes.” Looking at me he said, “I take it that tha cannon are already at tha gap.”

I shook my head no and replied, “They’s on tha way thar now.”

“But we heard cannon fire, which was tha signal to withdraw to tha Gap,” he countered.

I stared at him in stunned silence and then confessed, “I had troopers destroy some of tha Yanks’ wagons and a few of ‘em had ammo in ‘em. That was what ya heard, not cannon fire.”

Mosby was stunned for a moment. Then recovering he said, “We got two companies, Capt’n Edwards to the south and Capt’n Jameson to the west, that no doubt think we’ve already got captured cannon at tha Gap.  They’s trying to withdraw and get to tha gap as per our plan.”




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Civil War Transcendence, part 290


I galloped to Captain Reedy and yelled, “How goes it?”1`

He yelled back, “Thar beginning to rally and will counter attack momentarily.”

“Well, pull back to the Valley Pike and Townsend Road. Thar are some hills there that you can use as cover,” I said.

At that moment the last of our captured cannon pulled out toward Crampton’s Gap.

A few moments later, there were a series of explosions which I inferred were the handiwork of the ten plundering troopers. Simultaneously, “the Tenuous Ten” came galloping toward me, screaming like a band of Comanche.  Apparently, they were relishing their job of destruction and disdaining any military order of march.




Reining in, one of them grinned ear-to-ear and reported, “Lieutenant, we done what cha ordered and here we are.”

I looked at this motley crew and just shook my head. Pointing to the two cannon, caissons and limbers that were headed south, I ordered, “Go protect those cannon and help the crews get them to the top of the mountain.”

Gleefully, all of the Tenuous Ten saluted and spurred their mounts without waiting for my returned salute.

I nudged Stonewall to follow and we galloped back to the Valley Pike. We stopped there and I looked northward. Eleven pillars of smoke rose skyward.

I turned Stonewall southward and nudged him. Off we went like a rocket in flight.

I proceeded down the road, and holding Stonewall’s reins in my teeth, performed a quick cylinder change of two of my pistols.  Once we reached Townsend Road, I could see the cannon were bumping along toward the tree line at the base of the mountain.  Looking south I saw Major Mosby and his contingent in a knock-down, drag-out fight with Yankee cavalry.


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Civil War Transcendence, part 289



The first thing I did, once we had the Yanks on the run, was turn to see if our artillery men had finished spiking some of the Yank cannon.  Some of the men were finishing spiking four of the Union guns, and some were harnessing additional teams of horses to two of the captured pieces.

I turned back and looked for Captain Reedy. I spied him directing his men in volley fire at the retreating Yanks.  I nudged Stonewall and we galloped the short distance to where he was located. I yelled at him, “Great maneuver Cap’n. Ya saved our bacon.”

He nodded and yelled back, “What cha want us to do now?”

I pointed to Captain Greenley’s men and hollered over the noise of the volleys, “Take over Greenley’s men and add ‘em to yar company. Keep tha Yanks engaged while we move tha cannon to tha gap. When ya hear tha cannon go off, get up to tha Gap as fast as ya can.”

He nodded and saluted. I returned the salute, wheeled Stonewall around, and pointed him toward our artillery men.  Nudging him, I yelled, “Let’s go.”

As usual, he sprang toward and almost dislodged me from the saddle, but I was able to grab the front part of the saddle and hang on for dear life. We arrived at the Yank artillery train in an instant.  I took a quick inventory of what had been accomplished.  Four of the Yank cannon were spiked, and two teams of horses had been coupled together to move one of the captured cannon. The artillery sergeant was busy directing his men in harnessing the last cannon with two teams of horses.

I searched the area for the ten cavalry troopers I had assigned to the artillery crew. They were nowhere in sight. I nudged Stonewall forward, and we raced along the western edge of the abandon Yank supply train.  I finally found them ravaging a supply wagon of food. I fired my pistol in the air, which startled them.

Growling through gritted teeth, I stated, “Tha next man that picks up any Yank rations is a dead man.”

They all dropped what they had in their hands and just looked at me with a shocked expression.

“I left ya to protect our artillery men and ya go off on a plundering expedition. I ought to shoot tha lot of ya on tha spot.”

I saw a few Adam’s Apples bob up and down and a few eyes looking guiltily toward the ground.

“Now get out of the wagons and set fire to as many of these wagons as you can.” I fired my pistol in the air and yelled, “And I mean now!”

You have never seen the wild rush of men to mount their horses as occurred after my command emphasized with my sidearm.  Men scattered to find something to act as torches so the supply train could be destroyed by fire. I followed their search until they found an ammunition wagon. They broke open some ammo boxes and created a fuse of sorts with torn strips from the wagon’s canvas covering.  They released the wagon’s team of horses and lit the fuse.  We vacated the area.  A brief instant later there was a loud explosion and the wagon was blown to pieces.

I yelled at the men to quickly release ten of the Yank supply wagons’ teams of horses and to use the fires started by the exploded wagon to set fire to those wagons.  Then to report back to me at the artillery train.

I turned Stonewall back toward the artillery train and nudged him. We were off as if he had the Wings of Pegasus.

We broke past the last Yank supply wagon, and I saw that the artillery men were ready to take the two captured Yank cannon to the gap. The artillery sergeant saluted and yelled from the saddle of the front horse of the lead team, “Ready to go, Lieutenant.”

I yelled back, “Let ‘er rip, Sarge.”

He saluted and began cussing and yelling as he spurred the lead horse. The horses leaned into their harnesses and began gaining momentum as they fought the force of inertia. After about thirty yards, they got up a head of steam and headed the short distance down the Valley Pike to Townsend Road and then up to Crampton’s Gap.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

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Civil War Transcendence, part 288


Greenley’s men started to fall back when they saw their leader go down.  I didn’t see any NCO’s taking charge so I rode to them yelling at the top of my voice, “Hold the line men. Hold the line.”

Suddenly, a bullet grazed my left side and Stonewall gave out a loud whinny. I saw blood on his left ear, but it wasn’t bleeding profusely.


I kept yelling until the men were once more in some semblance of a line. I was getting ready to have them dismount and fight on foot, when I heard a hair raising Rebel Yell coming from the north.  Captain Reedy’s northern force had arrived.

The Yanks halted their firing temporarily to look toward their new nemesis.

It gave me the chance to yell at Greenley’s men, “Don’t stop firing. Pour it into ‘em boys.”

The men reacted with new alacrity.

When Captain Reedy’s men appeared, they rode down the western side of the Yank supply train in a column of fours.  His men were taking pot shots at the Yank supply wagon drivers, who were deserting their wagons and running back toward Boonsboro as fast as jack rabbits.

However, what Captain Reedy did next was a superb and morale crushing maneuver against our enemy. Instead of bringing his men into a battle line formation, he charged his men straight into the Yankee infantry.  Their front line was penetrated like a ram driving through a barricade. Yanks were trampled under the hooves of our warrior’s steeds. In addition, the constant firing of our northern forces’ pistols in the faces of the Union soldiers on both sides of our four abreast column and the scream of the Rebel Yell must have seemed to the Yanks that demons from hell had been loosened on their ranks.

I saw what was happening and yelled, “Charge!”

We rode forward in a battle line firing what few rounds we had left in our pistols.  This last maneuver was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  The Yanks were totally unhinged. The rear portion of the third Yank infantry regiment that we had engaged broke and ran south into the main street of Gapland, crashing into the rest of their regiment and causing havoc to reign supreme in the rear of the Yankee column.

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Civil War Transcendence, part 287


I never looked back as we broke out of the tree line. I just turned Stonewall to the north to skirt some hills that shielded us from the main Yankee column.  Continually rotating my right hand over my head and forward, I motioned that I wanted the company to follow me.

We bolted around a set of small hillocks and began to curl to the northwest. I really didn’t know what to expect on the other side of the knolls, but I remember that the last Yank regiment had only half way entered the northern part of Gapland.

Suddenly, I reined in Stonewall, and all the men behind me began to hastily bring their mounts to a stop to prevent crashing into their comrades in front of them. This was going to be the tricky part. In any unit maneuver, whether it is cavalry or infantry, there is an accordion effect.  I knew that the company was stretched out with a lot of intervals between horsemen, due to my brass acceleration out of the tree line.

I turned to Captain Greenley and abruptly commanded, “By files left, march!”

I knew this probably wasn’t the appropriate command for cavalry, but Greenley got the idea and turned to face toward the Yank column. All the men to his left began to turn in two ranks to face the Yanks and join in a slow march to keep the company line. As each set of two’s joined the march, they turned to face toward Gapland.

As we reached the bottom of the eastern face of hills between us and the Yanks, I leaned forward and looked down our ranks.  We were perfectly aligned. I looked behind us, and the artillery sergeant had his men in a column of twos ready to descend on the Yank artillery contingent.

I yelled at the top of my lungs, “Charge!”

I kicked Stonewall. We rode up over the hills, and before us was an awesome site.  Yankee infantry men were standing in their ranks craning their necks to see what all the firing was about to the south and to the east.

I screamed, “Fire!”

Our band of brothers fired piecemeal instead of in a volley, but the affect was nevertheless felt by the Union soldiers. We had completely surprised them.   As Yankee men began to fall, their officers were thrown into a panic.

I kept our men at full gallop toward the Union infantry. They were intimidated and forced to move to the west, leaving their dead and wounded.  Once we reached the Valley Pike, I called a halt and yelled for Captain Greenley to continue to fire at the Union infantry. We had completely cut off the artillery train and supply wagons from the infantry protection.

I pulled Stonewall backward and walked him down the back of our line. I yelled until 10 men on our end of the line heard me and ordered them to follow me.  I finally got them turned to the north, and we headed toward the Yank artillery train, which wasn’t but 50 yards north of us.


Our artillery sergeant had already deployed his men and began firing at the Union artillery men. Some of the Yanks had skedaddled, but others were trying to protect their guns and were firing back. As Stonewall raced toward the scattered group of Union men, I began firing my pistol at any and all blue coats. My small party followed suit, and as we reached the Union cannon, the rest of the Yanks vacated the area by running down the western side of the supply wagons.

I immediately yelled at our Artillery Sergeant, “Get ‘em spiked and haul tha rest up to tha gap.”

He nodded back.

I turned to my group and declared, “Stay and protect our artillery men and accompany them to the gap.” I pointed to one of the men and ordered, “Yar in charge.”

He gulped and nodded.

I turned Stonewall and headed south. As I approached Greenley’s men, I could see the Yanks had rallied and were making a stand. They were also starting to inflict casualties on our men.  I saw a ragged Union volley take down more of our men including Captain Greenley.


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Civil War Transcendence, part 286


Everyone in our two companies became very apprehensive when they could see the Yank column approach Gapland. Hands went over the noses of horses to keep them quiet.

I looked down at my watch and it read 2:37 pm.  I thought, “Well, Billie Yank, it took ya long enuff to get herah.”

I had already walked to the front of Captain Greenley’s company with Stonewall.  All I needed to do was wait on Major Mosby to start his diversion. Then we could head out.

The Yank column finally entered Gapland, and we could hear some of the citizens cheer as they marched through the town.  The Yank flankers on our side of Gapland stayed on the eastern edge of town, but were still proceeding without scouts.

However, once the forward infantry regiment got to the south of Gapland, the Yank cavalry sent out advance scouts just like Major Mosby predicted.  The scouts fanned out like an umbrella in front of the column and moved leisurely south. The rest of the cavalry stayed next to the main column as it advanced through the town.

I looked to the north and saw two more Yankee infantry regiments in the caravan, with the artillery train in the distance and the supply wagons following them.

Time seemed to stand still. My heart was already racing. I just wanted this show to get on the road.  The slow pace of the Yank column was driving me crazy.

I turned to look at Captain Greenley. He was sweating profusely and was as jittery as I was.  I caught his eye and shook my head and smiled.  He caught my meaning and grinned. I think the silent exchange released a lot of tension we both were experiencing. I felt as if a gorilla got off my back.  I actually stood up straight. I didn’t realize that I had been bent over while watching through the thick foliage.

It took about another forty five minutes for the third Yank Infantry regiment to get half way into the town.

All of a sudden we heard firing to the south and realized that our southern force under Captain Edwards had made contact with the head of the Yank column.

I turned to Captain Greenley and said, “Let’s mount.”


We climbed on our horses and the men behind us began to do the same. I took a quick look behind me. All the men had mounted and drawn their carbines.

Suddenly, we heard the Rebel Yell raised from Mosby’s contingent as they assaulted the eastern flank of the Yank column.

I pulled my pistol and yelled, “Forward!”

I didn’t have to kick Stonewall. He took off like a scared jack rabbit. His ears were laid back, and he was in full stride in no time.

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Civil War Transcendence, part 285


The sun rose higher and higher and I got scared-er and scared-er.

Mosby was asleep by a tree with his horse’s reins tied to his boot.

I wished I could manifest the same calm. I also wished that Stonewall had hands and could give me a massage instead of vice versa. However, I stood in front of my cayuse and continued to give him a rubdown. It was the only way I could keep my hands from trembling.

A few minutes later, Mosby stirred and got up.  He gave his horse’s reins to a courtier, came to where I was standing and queried in a matter of fact voice, “Seen anything yet?”

“No sir,” I replied.

“Well, let’s go take a look,” he suggested.

I quit massaging Stonewall, and when his eye opened, I said, “I’ll be back in a minute.”

Mosby just grinned at our communication as I followed him toward the head of Captain Greenley’s line of cavalry.

We reached the end of Greenley’s line and began to climb straight up the steep slope of the mountain, jockeying for a good site to view the Yanks column through the trees.  After about 50 paces, Mosby sat down and took out his binoculars. Adjusting the lens, he observed the northern part of the valley.

He murmured, “Hmmm. Tha rear of thar column has just cleared Rohersville, and tha head of thar column is at tha junction of tha Valley Pike and Trego Road, where Captain Reedy’s company is located. Thar cavalry flankers are still close to tha main body and parallel to it with tha head of thar flankers just fifty yards ahead of the leading infantry regiment.”

Then he chuckled and relayed, “And they still don’t have any advance scouts. I betcha they didn’t believe they would be hit until south of Gapland. And I also betcha they’ll send out advanced scouts when tha head of tha column gets to tha south of Gapland.”

He turned to me and said, “Well, Lieutenant, we best get back to tha men.”

I nodded and we descended the mountain back to the Townsend Road and walked back to our horses.

In a low voice Mosby told a courtier to get First Sergeant Walker and Capt. Greenley.

When the men arrived, Mosby explained, “Capt. Greenley, Lieutenant Hager will be leading yar company and tha artillery men out Townsend Road, through some hills and on line to hit tha Yanks’ artillery train. Ya will assault tha Yank column when tha Lieutenant gets yar company on line. Tha Lieutenant’s job is to get tha cannon we need to Crampton’s Gap. Ya will follow his orders in completing that mission.”

Captain Greenley nodded, and looking at me, said, “Yes sir.”

Mosby turned to Sergeant Walker and said, “Sergeant, I’ll be riding with yar company. We’re gonna hit tha Yank flankers or whatever contingent they’ll have on this side of Gapland to give Lieutenant tha element of surprise when Capt. Greenley’s company attacks tha Yank artillery train.”

The Sergeant returned, “Yes sir.”

Looking at both commanders, Mosby said, “As quietly as ya can, get yar men are up and ready to go. We should be moving within tha hour. Dismissed.”

We saluted and Mosby returned our salutes. Then our last conference broke up. I went to see about the artillery men.

Greenley’s company was already facing northward, which was the way we had to advance. So he walked toward the head of his column to order his sergeants to quietly rouse the men and have them ready to mount at a moment’s notice.


I accompanied him in total silence until I came upon the artillery contingent, which was at the back of Greenley’s column. They were arrayed in uniform with the traditional red piping on their sleeves and collars.  I found their sergeant and pulled him aside.

He saluted and I quietly informed him with as much confidence as I could muster, “I’ll be leading tha column out and behind some hills to keep tha Yanks from seeing us. I’m gonna bring tha company on line, and we’ll assault tha Yank artillery train. As soon as we break out of tha treeline, I want ya to break your men off to tha left and parallel Greenley’s column.”

“Follow us as we charge. We’ll take tha artillery train. Ya bring yar men up and start spiking tha cannon and getting the teams of horse hooked up to the cannon that we’re ‘spouse to take. Once ya got ‘em ready to go, take off back up tha road we’re on now to tha top of tha mountain. I’ll be keeping an eye on ya. If’n ya run into trouble, I’ll get help to ya as soon as I can.”

The Sergeant looked at me in daze and had a quizzical look on his face and reluctantly said, “Yes sir.”

He was so agog that he forgot to salute.

I smiled and assured him, “Don’t worry about anything ‘cept getting those cannon up tha mountain.”

He nodded again, but his demeanor didn’t seem right.

For some reason I asked, “How many cannon have they told ya to take up tha mountain?

“All of ‘em,” he replied.

“Who told ya that?” I hissed.

“Captain Owens,” he answered.

I replied, “Captain Owens was not correct. You are to spike all but two of tha cannon. Attach tha extra teams from tha spiked guns to tha teams for tha two cannon and get ‘em up tha mountain.”

The Sergeant’s countenance took on a refreshed glow as he replied, “Thank ya Lieutenant for changing tha orders. I didn’t know how we were gonna get tha whole battery up that mountain. It won’t cause us a problem to get just two up therah.”

I nodded and added, “Quietly, get yar men up and ready to go. Won’t be long now.”

He saluted me and headed toward his men.

I meandered back to Mosby and Stonewall. When I got there, I looked at Captain Owens, who was still tied up and guarded by a courtier.

I walked over to the guarding courtier and asked, “You ever shot anybody?” He shook his head that he hadn’t

“Do ya think ya could?” I queried.

“Yes sir,” he answered.

Pointing at Owens, I ordered through gritted teeth, “If he so much as tries to get to his feet, I want ya to kill him and do it quietly.” The courtier looked at Mosby to see what his response would be.

Mosby just nodded in the affirmative.

Captain Owens’ face turned white as a sheet.



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Civil War Transcendence, part 284


As we walked down the mountain, I checked my pocket watch. It was barely 9:00 am. It seemed like half the day had already passed instead of just two hours.  As I replaced the timepiece, I witnessed the sun break through the scud layer of clouds and cast a brilliant sheen on the valley before us. The brightness made me squint and tear up from the sudden assault on my eyes.


I let out a sigh and thought, “Well, there goes the protection of the fog. It’ll be burnt off before you know it.”

For some reason, I began to contemplate my ever changing orders lately. First, I was required to direct our forces from our Potomac River camp to Pleasant Valley. Second, I had to personally engage in two fights to get us here. Third, I was sent to scout out Crampton’s Gap to see what the situation was up there. Fourth, I directed three cavalry companies to their present deployment. Fifth, I was responsible for getting the two cavalry companies to their present position in a tree line at the base of South Mountain. Sixth, I was originally designated to lead our forces in case Mosby went down.  Thank heavens, that order had been replaced by making sure the cannon we captured from the Yanks gets to the top of Crampton’s Gap.

I probably have left out some other orders over the last two days, but that was it in a nutshell.  I made a vow to myself: “If I make it out of here alive, I’m retiring from the Army.“

Mosby was met by a courtier when we reached our horses.  They spoke in whispered tones for a moment. Mosby turned and beckoned me to join them.

He pointed to the north and said, “Thar moving quickly. Tha head of their column is already at Locust Grove, which is nawth of Rohersville. Our boys at Rohersville Station probably got ‘em in their sights already. I ‘spect they’ll be at Gapland in another two hours.”

I nodded in agreement.

Mosby turned to me and queried, “How ya gonna hit ‘em?

“Greenley’s company is already headed northwest on the Townsend Road toward the valley pike. Once we break out of the protection of tha woods, if’n we swing due north, we can skirt around a small ridgeline and hopefully stay out of sight of tha Yank artillery contingent. If ya could provide a diversion, we can come on line and hit tha Yanks a surprise blow in their flank. I don’t know what protection tha Yank artillery will have, but any  attack y’all could make would help us immensely. Also, I ‘spect that Captain Reedy’s northern blocking force won’t be too far behind us and can help us too.”

Mosby grinned and nodded his agreement. He turned to one of his courtiers and issued an order for Captain Greenley to join us.

As the courtier walked down the road on his mission, I went in search of Stonewall.  I found him sedately standing next to the tree where I had left him an hour ago. As usual, I hadn’t encumbered him in any way, but he had stayed where I left him.  I gave him a quick massage, during which I uttered, “t’won’t be long now.” He snorted and went into his meditative state. I just wished I could be as calm as he was.




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