Civil War Transcendence, part 303

 

303-burkittsville

The different cavalry companies were finding places to bed down for the night, and scroungers were foraging for food for themselves and hay for their horses.

The wagon that I had sent up through the Gap early in the morning had done double duty by traversing the Gap and then gathering some foodstuffs once the driver had traveled to Burkittsville.

The town was a bedlam of moving troopers, horses and towns people.  I bet Burkittsville hadn’t had this much excitement in quite a while.

I couldn’t believe it, but some of the local residents were sharing their food with our men. I didn’t think that western Marylanders would be that hospitable, but they proved me wrong.

I finally found that Mosby had made his headquarters in the Disciples of Christ church on the main square.   As I wearily dismounted Stonewall let out a huff of exhaustion, so I immediately unsaddled him and took his gear into the church. I left it to the side of the front door and looked to see if anyone was available to feed my cayuse.

There, I saw Mosby in a meeting with his company commanders.

Mosby motioned me over.  I saluted and he returned my salute.

I uttered, “I have the figures of our casualties, wounded and active duty personnel.”

He nodded, and I gave him and the company commanders the statistics.  Mosby nodded, and turning to the company commanders said, “No more tonight. Get your men and horses fed and bedded down. We will talk more in the morning.”

They all gratefully saluted and left as quickly as they could.

Mosby looked at Al and said, “You stay.”

Once the commanders had left, Mosby said, “Sgt. Madigan, I wanna thank ya for taking over today and getting Jameson’s company out of harm’s way. I know tha men hated to see their captain killed, but yar fast thinking kept tha company together and I really appreciate it.”

For the first time, I think I saw Al blush.  He was at a loss for words and just nodded at the Major.

Mosby then declared, “I know ya would make a good company commander, but I need ya and Jim to continue to work directly under my command so I’m afraid I’m gonna put Jameson’s company in tha hands of a company sergeant.”

Al nodded his acknowledgement and I saw him actually stifle a smile. He was glad to get out of having to nursemaid a cavalry company.

Mosby abruptly turned to me and said, “How in heaven’s name did ya get Jameson’s and Edward’s companies up to tha Gap?”

I was caught off guard and stammered for an answer.

He finally said, “Just tell me what ya did.”

I went through the actions taken as best I could remember with Mosby eyes boring through me and his ears hanging on my every word.

It took almost twenty minutes to describe the whole story.

When I finished, Mosby just shook his head and said, “That is truly a tale for tha campfire. I want to thank ya Lieutenant for what ya did today.  If’n ya hadn’t gotten those two companies up to tha Gap this afternoon, we would still be fighting off Yanks this very moment. We’ll talk more about this later. Y’all go and get some rest and food. But I want ya bedded down near this building just in case I need ya.”

We both saluted and left by the front door.  Al looked at me and said, “Jim, that’s tha dangest thing I ever heard.  Ya must have the Hand of God guiding ya.”

I smiled and said, “I don’t think so. I believe another hand had something to do with it.”

Al muttered, “Huh?”

I returned, “Never mind.”

Al looked warily at me and said, “There ya go again with that talk that don’t make no sense.”

I just said, “Ain’t it tha truth.”

We walked out into the early night. A chilling wind had come up that made me draw my coat closer to my body. I stopped to look up at a sky filled with a billion gleaming stars, each one vying to be the brightest.  I left out a long breath. It was glorious to still be alive and to enjoy this beautiful Ear

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Civil War Transcendence, part 302

I started walking toward the area that Stonewall had been grazing and resting, but he had vanished.  I decided to continue for a ways and came to a church on the road running north along South Mountain’s eastern face. As I passed the church on my left I saw him next to the building. He was munching grass and being petted by guess who? That’s right.  My nemesis. My bane.

276 elven queen

She was leisurely leaning with her back on the church wall and apparently had been waiting on me.  I let out a huff and said not too diplomatically, “What’d ya want?”

Her sly smile disappeared and a stern countenance took its place.  She squared on me like she had pistols on her hips and was ready to use them. I was surprised and had to fight to keep from taking a step backwards.

“I am here to talk about a mission, actually “The Mission”, that we have wanted to propose to you from our first encounter. However, you got yourself embroiled in so many brouhahas, I believe that is the Earth word that you use, that we really didn’t have the length of time to discuss it with you. Plus, your very impudent and snide attitude toward my Mentor and Me has highly complicated the process. I have never endured such a…a… bullheaded, stubborn, obstinate, opinionated…”

I finally broke in on her long list of my characteristics, “I get the picture San Cirr Ray. What do ya want?”

Mentioning her name brought her up short and she lost some of her aggression. She looked quizzically at me and noted, “You remembered my name.”

“Of course, I remembered your name. How could I forget it?” I declared with a bit of anxiety in my voice.

This brought a huge smile that lit up her face like a lantern. Even Stonewall stopped munching and turned to see where the sudden light came from. This time I did back up one step.

I stammered, “Now…now let’s keep our distance. We don’t want something untoward to happen.”

She giggled and it sent chills up and down my spine.  “Don’t do that. It isn’t seemly,” I retorted.

This actually made her laugh and then she added, “My, my, you have really reverted to 19th century jargon in a very short time. You are to be commended.”

This flattery didn’t faze me one bit. I had been in her clutches before and she wasn’t a creature to be trifled with.  I abruptly uttered, “What is it that you want?”

She suddenly became all business and inwardly I breathed a sigh of relief.  “We want to seriously talk with you about a way to help this Earth. You can perform a service that will bring great benefit,” she said.

I made the mistake of looking deeply into her eyes and like a vampire’s victim, began to be submerged in a whirlpool of Nothingness.

Stonewall sudden whinnied loudly and it brought me out of my trance. I shook my head and got back some semblance of coherency. I tried to talk, and it took a moment before I whispered breathlessly, “That little demonstration is why I don’t want to continue our communication. If y’all want to contact me, have Kann Mer Ray do it after this campaign when we are back in Virginia.”

I grabbed Stonewall’s reins and mounted in one smooth motion. I gave her a quick glance as I rode him out to the road and headed for Burkittsville.

 

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Civil War Transcendence, part 301

I made it to the eastern base of South Mountain and turned into an ancillary road to wait the passage of our troops down the mountain.  It was getting dark, with the sun already hidden by the mountain backdrop.

I was glad to see that Mosby sent the artillery down first so they would have some semblance of daylight to work with, if they ran into difficulty.  Initially they had to use block and tackle to lower each gun down from the eastern part of Crampton’s Gap. However, the artillery crews knew what they were doing, and after lowering about 750 feet down the mountain, the teams of horses were able to control the guns’ descents without much trouble.  The last gun arrived at base of the mountain in the early twilight.  I definitely breathed a sigh of relief.

I had dismounted Stonewall and let him graze the field next to the road, but soon I saw he had struck his classic pose with his right hind leg cocked next to his left hind leg and his head almost touching the ground. I had to smile. He was the most unique cayuse I had ever been associated with.

I stopped the artillery caravan to find out who was in charge, the number of men they still had and the number of casualties.  It didn’t take long before that task was completed.

Mosby was next with his First Sergeant and his courtiers.  He dispatched them to the four winds to gather up forage for the horses and food for the men.  He didn’t see me, and I was glad that he hadn’t.  I was one exhausted soldier.

I finally had to use a Lucifer (match) to light a candle to be able to see to write down the numbers I needed to accumulate.  As each company filed down the steep incline I stopped them, found out who was in command, took a count of their men and the count of their casualties.

Al was at the head of Captain Jameson’s Company, which was the fourth company in line. I was a little surprised and asked, “Where’s Capt’n Jameson?”

“He’s one of tha first casualties we took. Tha way he fell from his horse I knew he was dead. I sort of took over, and their First Sergeant didn’t mind. So here I am,” he replied with his characteristic smile.

I said, “Well, they’s got ‘em a good ‘un. Thanks for getting’ ‘em out of tha jam. We had so much going on back at Brownsville that I didn’t realize Capt’n Jameson wasn’t with ya ‘til just now.”

Al’s smile widened as he added, “Jim, I think ya had a lot of things on yar mind without worrying ‘bout a missing capt’n.”

I grinned and said, “Well, I guess ya better take ‘em on into town.”

He smiled and said, “Yes sir.”

I retorted, “Cut out that sir stuff. Thanks for saving tha company’s bacon today.”

He grinned and ordered the company forward.

wallup.net

wallup.net

It must have been about 9:00 pm when the last company was accounted for.  I tallied the numbers by candle light.

We left our camp on the eastern bank of the Potomac with roughly 485 men, plus 20 artillery men. I counted 369 men and 35 mounted wounded that weren’t serious.  We had lost four artillery men.  Unfortunately, we had to leave our badly wounded on the field. They no doubt were Union prisoners and hopefully would be shown the dignity owed them as POWs.  The best news was that all our troopers were still mounted. I guessed some of the horses were wounded, but hopefully not severe.

I looked up at Crampton’s Gap and saw the glow of many camp fires. Apparently Quantrill was giving the Yanks a bit of a tease. He hoped the number of fires would make them think our whole contingent was camped up there.  I let out a sigh and turned to see where Stonewall was.  The moon was out and in the bright lunar light he was nowhere to be found.

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Civil War Transcendence, part 300

The road to the gap wasn’t very wide, and the Yank cavalry that took it running down were heading straight into the Yankee Infantry coming up.

300-sun-tzu

One of the tenets of Sun Tzu in his epic book “Art of War” is not to interfere when your enemy is making a mistake. I thought that it would be great if we were to add a dimension to the mistake that the Yanks were making when I suggested the cannon fire into the trees and rolling fussed solid shot down the road.

Vaguely I remember during some of my other universe TV viewing days that there was a show that the main character always said, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

Well our plan worked, and the mess it made just did my heart good. The Yank cavalry tried to slow down their skedaddle, and they did so to some degree. They only ran into the first four files of their infantry before they got stopped.  What ensued was a madhouse of horses rearing, men cussing, infantry men taking to the woods on both sides of the road to dodge the cavalry, and hurt men crawling off the road trying to find some kind of safety.

I looked at Mosby and the artillery sergeant. They were watching the melee with amazement at the ineptitude of the enemy.  Our troopers were giving the Rebel Yell and laughing their heads off.

Suddenly, our cannon sent exploding shells in overhead arcs to land near the clogged road. The results were not to be believed. Union cavalry and infantry broke and headed down the mountain side like stampeding cattle.  I bet some of them didn’t stop until they got back to Boonsboro. Our artillery didn’t even have to roll fussed solid shot down the steep incline.

Mosby turned and motioned me over.  I quickly joined him.

He said, “Get with each company and find out who is in command and how many men are still with us. I’m gonna get this herah gaggle off tha mountain and bed down in Burkittsville on tha east side of tha mountain for the night. I’m gonna leave Quantrill as our rear guard. We gotta make that rendezvous with General Ashby or we’ll get left behind. And I don’t want to be meandering b’twixt herah and Frederick City on our own.”

“I’ll see you in Burkittsville later on,” I said as I saluted, and he returned my salute.

I started walking toward our herd of horses as Mosby’s began yelling for each company to form up, get mounted, get into line and be prepared to move out.

I finally found Stonewall in the middle of the herd of our horses.  He was a smart soldier. While other horses were skittish and constantly moving, he had settled down into his meditation stupor and was resting.  I actually had to rub his forehead to get him to wake up.  He begrudgingly opened his eyes with that ‘give me five more minutes’ look.

I laughed and said, “Sorry, but we got’s ta move.”

He snorted his distain and came fully awake.  I took his reins from the trooper that was in charge of his foursome and mounted.

Men were leading horses toward their companies, while the artillery was being hooked up to the teams of horses.  I thought it better to wait at the bottom of the mountain to tally our numbers.  As I slowly rode down the mountain side, I was at once reminded of how steep this road was. Although it followed the contour of the mountain going down instead of going straight down, it was still a very precipitous decline. I just hoped Mosby let the artillery go down first in case they needed more help than just the additional teams of horses.

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Civil War Transcendence, part 299

 

Suddenly, Major Mosby appeared at my side on horseback.

“Lieutenant, you arrived just in the nick of time,” he loudly proclaimed over the hoorahs of our men.

Pointing downhill at the advancing Union Infantry, I shouted over the din, “Major, we need those cannon over herah or else it’ll be all for naught.”

He glanced down at the Yanks and took off toward our line of cannon.

Our men had stopped firing, but were raising such a lot of noise with their cheering that I fired my pistol in the air to get their attention.  They all looked my way and I ordered, “Dismount and every fourth man take horses to the rear. Prepare to repel infantry.”

Almost as one they looked down the road leading up to the gap and saw the advancing Yanks.  Quickly, they followed my orders and formed up as dismounted cavalry at the western edge of the Gap.

Mosby brought his line forward, and we elongated our line to cover the western part of the Gap for 60 yard on both sides of the road leading to the gap. Mosby parked the guns facing down the road.

As the men were loading all their pistols and carbine, I turned to see Mosby in a heated conversation with the artillery sergeant. I decided to join the conversation and heard Mosby yell, “What do ya mean, ya can’t shoot down the hill?”

299-cannon

The artillery sergeant yelled back, “I can’t decline the cannon far enough to hit the enemy.”

Mosby was turning purple with rage, when I said, “Decline the cannon as far as possible and blow out the trees above ‘em. It will provide deadly shards of wood, plus roll down some round shot with fusses. That ought to get their attention.”

Both men turned and looked at me as if I were crazy. But the idea caught their fancy as they both thought it through.

Mosby turned to the sergeant and said, “How ‘bout it?”

The sergeant nodded and replied, “Yes, we can do that.”

Mosby looked at me, smiled and said, “You got tha left wing and I got tha right. Let’s get rid of these pests and get outta herah.”

I replied, “Yes, sir.”

As I walked toward our left wing, which was on the left side of the cannon, I looked back to see if I could see Stonewall. The herd of horses at the far side of the gap was too compacted to see him.

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Civil War Transcendence, part 298

 

I figured we had about two miles to go over treacherous ground.  There was no path or trail along this part of the South Mountain ridgeline. I had to pick the way to keep horses from falling due to the various steep sides of the ridge and to bypass thickets of brambles.

It was a slow process, and I was increasingly worried about Mosby. We kept hearing our two cannon boom in the distance, which had to signify Mosby was trying to hold Crampton’s Gap. Periodically we could also hear gunfire.

I finally threw caution to the winds and nudged Stonewall to a trot.  He seemed to sense where to go on the landscape to avoid any obstacle. I was amazed. It was   as if he had some bloodhound DNA. I finally just gave him his head and let him go.

We broke out of the narrow confines of the narrow ridge and hit a broadened part of the ridge with a trail wide enough for two riders abreast. I let Stonewall continue for about 50 yards on this trail and then reined him to a halt. We turned back, and as the men came out of the confines of the narrow ridgeline, I put them in a column of twos.  It took a while for all of them to catch up due to the inevitable accordion effect that plagues all military formations.

Once we had reformed, I proceeded to the head of the column and yelled, “Forward at the gallop, march!”

Stonewall was weary, but wasn’t going to give up on me. He set a steady pace and we ate up the ground. In no time we heard another round of gunfire.

We broke out of the trail into a small clearing that bordered the southern edge of Crampton’s Gap.  Yankee Cavalry had reached the western edge of the Gap.  They had dismounted and were moving forward in a battle line.  On the eastern side of the Gap was a line of our cavalry protecting two cannon.

I hoped that the cannon crews saw us and didn’t fire their guns as I screamed, “Draw pistols. Left Rank fire by file.”

298_cavalry

It was a crazy command, (I didn’t know if it really existed) but the men got the gist of it. They began to shoot at the Yanks as they came into the clearing.

Our appearance completely unhinged the Yanks. They immediately began to pull back. Once our contingent had completely entered the clearing, I shouted, “Left turn into line, march.”

The men turned to their left and faced the Yanks. I yelled, “Fire at will.”

Our troopers fired pistols with great precision. The Yanks began to fold as our firepower began to take effect.

I shouted, “Forward march.”

We walked our mounts forward to the eastern edge of the Gap and saw the Yankee cavalry running to their horses. I was immediately dismayed. We also saw Union Infantry marching up the road toward the Gap.

 

 

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Civil War Transcendence, part 297

Due to the narrow cut of the mountain road, the Yanks could only ride two abreast. They weren’t taking any precautions, but barreling up the mountain ready to give us ‘what for’.  This worked in our favor.

I could feel the men getting itchy to fire, so I said in a loud voice, “Steady men. Not yet.”

I looked down to where Captain Edwards was located. He was looking back at me with an expectant air, but I just shook my head “no.”

When the leading Yanks saw us in the road acting as a barrier, the leading two of their column fired their carbines. I heard their bullets whine over us.  I waited until their front two men were within 20 yards of Captain Edwards’ battle line.

I yelled, “Front rank, ready, aim, fire. Load.”  Ten carbines sounded as if one large explosion erupted from the mountain. It echoed down into the valley.

One of the two leading Yank troopers was ripped from his saddle and thrown back into the second file. The other lead Yank and his horse went down in a big pile in the middle of the road.  The converging Yankee troopers plowed into the downed trooper creating a melee of crashing, rearing and falling horses and men.

I yelled, “Second rank, ready, aim, fire. Load” Another explosion erupted from our contingent as deadly missiles found their targets and added to the chaos.

Yanks were veering off on either side of the road to dodge the pile up on the road. I looked at Captain Edwards and nodded my head. He turned back to his men, and momentarily, I heard the report of thirty carbines followed by random shots of Colt pistols.

I ordered, “Front Rank, rise. Squad, forward march.” I marched the men down the road to where they filled the gap between the left and right wing of Captain Edwards’ men. Once in place, I ordered, “Front Rank, kneel.”

We looked at the mayhem below. There were dead Yankee troopers scattered on the road and on the landscape on both sides of the road, plus two dead horses in the road.  However, a game Yankee captain had quickly gotten his men extricated from the carnage and was rallying them for another charge.

297-casualties

 

I yelled, “Front rank, ready, aim, fire. Load. Second rank, ready, aim, fire. Load.”

The bullets flew into the Yankee ranks, and that was all it took to help them vacate the mountain. The Yank troopers turned tail and galloped away with the Yank captain following them and cussing them for cowards all the way.

A cheer went up from our men that reverberated down into the valley.  Men were throwing their hats in the air and pounding each other on the back.

I fired my pistol in the air and all shouting ceased. “Get up the mountain and form up. We ain’t done yet,” I yelled. This shocked the men, but they started scurrying up the mountain.

Once we were all assembled on the ridge line, I formed Al’s company as the lead company and Captain Edwards’ company as the rear company.  I yelled, “Forward in single file, march.”

We began a precarious ride along the ridge to join up with Mosby, who I hoped was holding Crampton’s Gap.

Just about two minutes later, we heard two cannons fire a volley.  I thought, “Oh, no. Mosby is in trouble.”

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Civil War Transcendence, part 296

I looked down the mountain and saw the Yank flankers that had been following Al’s contingent entering Brownsville from the west. They would be coming up the mountain to get us in no time.

“Capt’n Edwards,” I wheezed, “bring your men downward, just below the top of the mountain, and deploy them in a battle line on both sides of the road. We ain’t out of the woods yet.”

Edwards turned and began running up the slope as fast as his stubbly legs would permit to get his men in formation.

I got to my feet and yelled, “Men, get up and get your horses to the top of the mountain as quick as possible!” Pointing to the approaching Yanks, I shouted, “We got company.”

The men staggered up and began walking their mounts up the steep incline as quickly as their exhausted legs and the winded mounts would allow.

I looked at Al and asked, “Can you take Stonewall to the top for me?”

He grinned, took Stonewall’s reins from me and started up the mountain. Stonewall looked back at me and gave one of his famous whinnies.

I just yelled, “Go!” He acquiesced and let Al lead him to safety.

I walked up the slope until I came to where Captain Edwards’ men were being deployed.  I waited until the last man from Al’s men had filtered past us and then ordered, ”Okay Capt’n Edwards, let’s move our battle line down slope about another 30 yards and halt them with every trooper hiding behind a tree. Don’t fire until I give the word.”

He nodded and moved his line of battle down the hill.

I turned and moved as fast as my legs would tolerate to the top of the hill and yelled, “Al, get men to hold the horse and give me twenty men with carbines as fast as possible.”

He nodded and gave the orders.

Men started coming toward me with carbines in hand. I didn’t try to put them in formation. I just ordered, “Follow me.” We moved like a gaggle toward where the road actually tops the mountain. I took the men about 20 feet down the slope they had just traversed.

I ordered, “Stop!” They halted and then I ordered, “Ten of you get in a line kneeling and facing down the hill. The other ten men stand up behind them in a second rank.  Quickly!”

The men hustled to comply.

296-battle-ready

Once they were in place, I said, “When I give the word, I want the kneeling rank to fire only down the road and reload.  When I give the standing rank the order to fire, I want ya to fire only down the road and reload. Ya got it?”

Some of them nodded and the rest acknowledged they understood.

The Yanks had picked their way through the town and were starting up the mountain. There must have been at least seventy-five of them, and they were coming with murder in their hearts for ambushing them.

I took a deep breath and prayed, “Please let my plan of battle work.”

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Civil War Transcendence, part 295

295-cavalry-battle

The Confederate cavalry contingent was bearing down on me like a steam roller out of control.  I waved my hands as we raced toward them and felt a .36 caliber slug go past my left ear for my efforts.

One of the leaders of the contingent started yelling, “Don’t shoot. Don’t shoot. It’s Jim.”

I was never so happy to see Al Madigan in my life. He brought the column to a halt in a cloud of dust.

I yelled, “Whatcha running from?”

“A whole herd of Yanks are on our tail,” he replied.

I turned Stonewall around, and heading south, I yelled, “Follow me.”

Our troop resumed their breakneck speed as Al rode up beside me and grinned.

“Wherah ya taking us?” he yelled.

“We’re headed south until we hit the Brownsville Road. Then we’re gonna have to hit another Yank cavalry unit in the rear and scurry up to Brownsville Gap,” I replied.

“Oh, is that all?” he sassed with his characteristic smile.

“How did ya fare with the Yanks?” I queried over the thunder of our contingent’s hooves.

“We surprised ‘em, but they regrouped and pushed us back with infantry support. When we heard the cannon shots, we disengaged and have been fighting a rear guard action ever since.”

“Did ya lose many men?”

“About ten.”

I nodded and kept us riding south. We finally came to the Brownsville Road intersection, and I directed the column due east and headed toward the town of Brownsville.

We traversed the one mile to the town in a jiffy. As we hit the high ground near Brownsville, I looked north. It was as I had hoped. The Yank Infantry had halted and were holding their position south of Gapland along the Valley Pike. The western Union cavalry flanking force was on our tail while some members of the eastern Union cavalry flanking force were after our forces under Mosby’s and Greenley’s commands.  A few members of the eastern Union flanking force had joined the forward Union cavalry scouts and were chasing Captain Edwards’ company up the mountain toward Brownsville Gap.

I pulled my pistol as we ran into the back of this Union vanguard and screamed at the top of my voice, “Get ‘em boys.”

Al and I began firing at every Yank that we could see while riding at breakneck speed up the mountain trail to the gap.

Our contingent and the Yank cavalry were in columns of twos.  We cut a path thru the Yank’s column splitting their troopers to either side of the mountain trace, shooting down many, and sending the rest riding to the left and right of the lane off into the woods.  In no time, we were about out of gas and our horses were huffing and puffing to simply walk.

I halted the column, and almost as one, we dismounted.  I looked back down the mountain road. Yankee wounded and dead lined the road, and mounted Yanks were trying to get back down the steep mountainside any way they could.  We took pity on them and didn’t shoot them, even though they were easy targets.

Suddenly, I heard a voice above me on the trace say, “Thanks Lieutenant. We thought we were going to have another fight on our hands, but ya took care of tha threat.”

I turned to see Captain Edwards standing in the middle of road with his hands on his hips and a satisfied smile on his face as he uttered, “Well, Lieutenant, where do we go from here?”

 

 

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Civil War Transcendence, part 294

Looking west from near the top of the hill, located just to the northwest of Brownsville, I determined that I could skirt the southern base of this hill and ride west for awhile on the Brownsville Road without being in sight of the Yank’s forward infantry regiments. I was still leery of where the Yank cavalry had gotten to. I decided to worry about one thing at a time.

I looked eastward in time to see Captain Edwards’ men hightailing it east through Brownsville and up the mountain trail to Brownsville Gap. I knew I had only a few minutes to get moving or get caught by the advance of the Yanks.

Nudging Stonewall and pointing him toward the aforementioned road, I held on to the saddle pommel for dear life as he lunged forward and scurried down the hillside.

294-union-cavalry

We hit the road, and I reined Stonewall toward the west.  He galloped like the wind as we ate up the yardage quickly. When we came to the next set of hills, I turned Stonewall due north into a small cut between two hillocks, which hopefully kept us out of sight of the Yanks.  Following the cut between the hills, I slowed Stonewall to a lope so we could maneuver around any large obstacles.

We had proceeded about a thousand yards, when I saw Yankee cavalry on top of the hill to our east. I pulled Stonewall to a halt and remained perfectly still.  I hoped they hadn’t seen us, but one trooper looked our way and started pointing to our position.

I immediately turned Stonewall west and we took off up the western hill.  Shots rang out but we were up and on the ridgeline in seconds and hidden by woods. I looked down the western face of the hill and saw, through a cut in the trees, a road running north, so I pointed Stonewall downward on a steep trail to the road.

Once we entered the road, I turned Stonewall north and let him run full out.

After a few hundred yards, Stonewall began to slow, and I could tell he was getting tired.  His breathing was labored and he was sweating profusely. I slowed him to a lope and then a trot. He was game, but I didn’t want to exhaust and breakdown this wonderful steed.

Suddenly, I heard firing up ahead.  We came around a bend in the road and saw Confederate cavalry dashing toward us.

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