Civil War Transcendence, part 436

Daphne didn’t wake up again until about 11:30 am. During the time she was sleeping, I would periodically creep into the room and look over the back of the couch on which she was lying at this most beautiful woman.  It never ceased to amaze me that she wanted to be married to me. As always I thought that I was the luckiest man in the world to have her for my wife.

I happened to be in the hall next to where Daphne was situated when she stirred and sat up. I looked in and saw her yawn and stretch. She was still sleepy, but she didn’t look as exhausted as she had earlier.

I walked into her temporary boudoir and she smiled at me.

I asked, “Feel better?”

She nodded, extended her arms to me and coyly said, “Carry me to tha dining room. I just love it when ya carry me in yar arms.”

I laughed and picked her up. We strolled into the dining room, and the servant ladies took over. They treated her as if she was the Queen of Sheba. Her every want and need was taken care of. I had to smile at the pampering she was experiencing. She was so gracious to her helpers, giving each one a hug for their endeavors on her part. This always resulted in the helpers trying to find another way to elicit a hug from her.

The cooking was already under way for the noontime meal when I carried Daphne into the dining room.

She finally took a deep breath and said, “Well, I guess I need to get ready for lunch.”

This brought on another round of ladies helping her upstairs and assisting with her late morning preparations for the day.

Once Daphne came down stairs, she and Mrs. Douglas went into the parlor and began another round of preparations for the cottage. I went upstairs, washed and donned new clothes. Then I concentrated on sending a mental message to Kann Mer Ray and San Cirr Ray, asking them if we could meet tonight at 8:00 pm at the school house in Shepherdstown.

Almost immediately I received the word, “Yes,” in my mind. I nodded and went downstairs.

We had a fun time at lunch. Daphne felt a lot better. Mrs. Douglas was jubilant with the moving plans. I also found out, of all the servant ladies that had asked to be assigned as our helper, Rachel had been selected. Because of her new important role, Rachel was beaming from ear to ear during lunch.

After the meal, Rachel, Anna, Mrs. Douglas and Daphne retired to the parlor and went into a closed session which produced a lot of giggling each time I happened to pass their assembly.

I went to the stables and saw John Lee at the far end of the building working on some leather harnesses. He saw me and waved me to come see him. So I walked the length of the center walkway and shook hands with him. He grinned from ear to ear and said, “I heard y’all will be moving into town.”

I smiled and said, “That’s right. I guess we’ll be going tha end of tha week.”

He nodded and said, “Well, we’ll all be helping in tha move, but, if’n ya need me in any other way, all ya gotta do is call.”

I smiled and said, “I appreciate that. No doubt I will be asking for yar help in tha near future.”

He grinned and nodded his head.

I hadn’t heard Stonewall when I came into the stable. Usually he began to whinny as soon as I entered the building.

I looked around and asked, “Where’s Stonewall?”

John Lee grinned and said, “He took a shine to Lula Belle, Miss Daphne’s horse. So we put ‘em out to pasture together. We’re hoping they will mate because we need a colt to restock our horse herd.”

I laughed and said, “Well, it would be a truly momentous occasion if both of us sired an offspring at the same time.”

John Lee laughed and nodded.

I asked John Lee, “Has Al been able to give ya lessons on how to shoot a pistol?”

“He did once, but we all been so busy that we ain’t been able to get back together,” John Lee replied.

I said, “Well, we need to get all of us together and have another lesson this week. I’ll get some ammunition. Do ya by any chance know how many pistols, rifles and shotguns we got in the family armory?”

“No, but I can find out,” John Lee responded.

“Good, because we need to teach everyone how to fire and load the weapons we have,” I explained.

John Lee nodded.

I said, “Well, do ya have a cayuse that I can ride while Stonewall is on his honeymoon?”

John Lee laughed out loud and replied, “Yeah, I got one that ya can ride.”

Getting up from his stool, John Lee went into the environs of the stable to procure a mount for me.

 

 

 

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Civil War Transcendence, part 435

At dawn, I stirred and turned to see the top of a head covered in velvet black hair next to me. The rest of the body was covered in a blanket. All I heard when I got out of bed was Daphne’s deep breathing. She and Mrs. Douglas must have stayed up half the night planning our move to town. I never heard her come to bed.

Donning my clothes, I washed my face and hands, which didn’t even get a rise from the mummified figure in the bed. I smiled as I gently closed the door to our bedroom and trooped down the stairs to breakfast.

Walking into the dining room, I saw Anna and Mrs. Douglas talking over cups of coffee at the table. Mrs. Douglas looked up at me, smiled and asked, “Is Daphne up yet?”

I responded, “No ma’am. She’s resting peacefully. When did y’all break up yar conflab?”

Mrs. Douglas grinned and said, “Well, it was well past midnight. We had a lot to think about.”

I smiled and returned, “There isn’t any two people in tha world that can plan like y’all can.”

I poured a cup of coffee from a pot on the buffet and sat down at the table. Anna motioned toward the door, and one of the servant ladies appeared with a plate-full of vittles. They watched me as I enjoyed the wonderful food.

Looking up at the two ladies, I stated, “I would like to help as much as I can to take any mental and physical strain off Daphne. Y’all just tell me what to do.”

Anna responded, “Tha whole household wants to help. They’re looking forward to a new baby in tha family. So I dunno if ya will have to do any heavy moving, but ya will need to drive wagons and carriages down to y’all’s cottage.”

I almost choked on a spoonful of eggs that I had put in my mouth. I looked at Anna and asked, “Wagons and carriages?”

Anna and Mrs. Douglas laughed. Mrs. Douglas commented, “Well, maybe not carriages, but there will be a few wagons.”

I was just about to respond to her reply when Daphne came into the room. Her eyes were puffy. Her hair hadn’t been combed out, yet, and she looked really weary.

I got up immediately and went to her. She slid into my arms, but she didn’t have enough strength to give me a rib crushing hug. I sat her down at the dining room table. She crossed her arms on the table and rested her head on her arms. Then she moaned. Everyone jumped to their feet and huddled around her.

I looked at the women for guidance, but they didn’t seem too troubled.

Finally, Mrs. Douglas asked, “Morning sickness?”

Daphne rasped, “Uh huh.”

Mrs. Douglas looked at me and pontificated, “First one is always tha worst.”

I let out a deep breath that I didn’t know I had been holding and looked at my precious wife and said, “Do ya want to go to tha parlor and lay on one of tha couches?”

Daphne dreamily replied, “Uh huh.”

I gently moved to her side and picked her up out of the chair. She smiled, put her arms around my neck and buried her head in my shoulder as we walked to the parlor.

On the way to the parlor there was a veritable bustle of activity. By the time we enter the room, there were coverlets on the couch, a few fluffed pillows at one end, a pitcher of water on a small table at one end of the couch and a chair next to the couch for me.

I gingerly laid Daphne on the couch and Anna covered her with a light blanket. Mrs. Douglas and the servant ladies were standing at the back of the couch looking down on Daphne.

Daphne didn’t say a word, but quickly drifted off to sleep with a smile on her face.

 

 

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Civil War Transcendence, part 434

It was nearly eight o’ clock when I pulled up in front of Ferry Hill. John Lee happened to be there and took Stonewall’s reins when I dismounted. My old cayuse was so tired that he didn’t even whinny when led off to the stables.

I yawned, stretched and entered the mansion.  Daphne and Mrs. Douglas must have been in the left parlor, because both were peering from the parlor doorway at me when I came in the entrance.

Daphne looked at me and said, “That was a pretty long time ya stayed at work.”

I just shrugged, took off my hat and walked toward the two women. I knew that I was in hot water when Daphne crossed her arms in front of her chest and narrowed her eyes. Mrs. Douglas assumed the same stance.

I looked at the heavens and thought, “Oh boy. I’m in for it.”

I tried to kiss Daphne, but she only provided her cheek. I kissed her proffered face and said, “Well, are there any leftovers from dinnah?”

Daphne growled, “Ya’re not getting one speck of food ‘til ya tell what happened in town!”

I took a deep breath and, looking at Mrs. Douglas, said, “I don’t think we will be troubling ya with our presence for much longer.”

The eyes of both ladies flew open and they almost said in unison, “What’d ya mean?”

I looked directly at Mrs. Douglas and replied, “Well we cleaned out a nest of vipers today, and I think it’s safe now for Daphne and me to live in the house we rented from ya.”

Daphne demanded, “What nest of vipers?”

I pleaded, “May I relate what happened over some food? I’m starving.”

Mrs. Douglas called, “Anna, we’re gonna need some food to bribe Jim with.”

I smiled. Daphne looked troubled. Mrs. Douglas looked intrigued.

First, I went to our room upstairs and changed into some more comfortable clothes. Daphne followed me and watched me like a hawk, but she never said a word. It was very disconcerting. I had my back turned to her when I finally finished with my new wardrobe by putting on my house shoes.

When I turned around, she was right in front of me. She slid into my arms and gave me one of her rib crushing hugs. She didn’t say anything but just held me. I wrapped my arms around her and kissed the top of her head. Then we began to sway.

I felt so happy and so blessed. Having her in my arms was heaven on earth.

After a few moments I said, “I love ya, Daphne.”

From the area of my chest came a muffled, “I love ya too.”

Suddenly, she let go of me, grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the room and down the stairs. She didn’t stop moving until we were all seated in the dining room, which included Anna. The servant ladies were all present also. As the food was offered to me I began to relate what all happened, but omitted the part about a meeting with the aliens.

I got the biggest reaction when I disclosed that I had believed that Throckmorton had been the spy ring leader for quite a while. The action part of the story didn’t get much of a response until I got to the part about taking the woman and her driver into custody. Then I was peppered with question about who she was, what she was wearing and where she was from.

When I told the ladies that I didn’t know the supposed female spy’s name, they went into all kinds of speculation as to who she was, based on the description of her clothes, which they had extracted from me at length. I enjoyed the time they were in their supposition mode, which allowed me to finish my meal without interruption.

When I finished eating, I stood and said, “Ladies, thank ya for a wonderful meal.”

Daphne looked at me in surprise and gravelly asked, “Where do ya think yar going?”

“Well, I was hoping to go to bed,” I replied.

Daphne gave me a withering glance and said, “Certainly not. We have to plan our move to tha cottage in town.”

I gave her a pained expression and asked, “Tonight?”

She looked at Mrs. Douglas and said, “Well, I guess we can let him leave ‘cause we’ll really be doing all tha real planning and house preparation.”

Mrs. Douglas nodded her affirmation, as did Anna and the servant ladies. Immediately they disregarded me and went into a planning session.

I quickly hot-footed it up the stairs and out of earshot. Once my head hit the pillow, I was out like a light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Civil War Transcendence, part 433

I commanded the driver to face the carriage, step back three paces and lean forward with his hands against the side of the vehicle. Never taking my eyes off the woman, I shifted the Colt to my left hand, patted down the driver with my right hand and found a pistol in his coat and a knife in his boot.

Putting my right hand in the flat of the driver’s back I ordered, “Stay where yar at and don’t move.”

Next I pointed my Colt with my left hand at the woman and ordered her, “Get out of tha carriage.”

She gulped and said, “What?”

I yelled, “Get out of tha carriage.”

She looked at me in shock. It was probably the first time in her fairy tale life that she ever had a gun pointed in her direction and been ordered around by someone who didn’t care who she was or what amount of money her family had. However, I had been shot at and my friends had been wounded. Daphne had been kidnapped and threatened with hanging. I was taking no chances with this woman. She could be the devil incarnate for all I knew.

Reluctantly, she came down the two steps from the carriage. I told her to take the same position that the driver had been commanded to do.

Her eyes flew open as she thought she would be getting the same pat down to which her driver had been subjected. She started to get her usual haughty expression until I fired my Colt into the ground at her feet. She screamed and her hands flew to her chest as if she had been shot.

In the confusion, her driver tried to get his feet under him so he could turn and hit me, but I quickly hit him over the head with my pistol. He dropped to where his hands and knees were on the ground. He moaned and shook his head.

I quickly stepped over in front of the woman, who was gasping for breath. She looked at me as if I was one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Taking advantage of the situation, I yelled, “What kind of weapons do ya have on ya?”

She looked at me for a second and then her eyes strayed to her small string bag that was looped around her left arm. I looked her straight in the eyes and commanded, “Give it to me.”

The woman quickly took the bag off her arm and handed it to me as if it was infected with the plague. I accepted the bag and put it in a coat pocket.

Backing up to where I had a good view of both of the probably spies, I fired another shot in the air. The woman screamed again and the driver jerked.

I stood there with my Colt aimed at the pair for what seemed like a long time. Finally, the woman got her breath back and the driver stumbled to his feet. After a few more moments, the woman’s color went from ashen gray to fiery red and she demanded, “What are ya going to do to us?”

I smiled the wickedest smile I could conjure up and replied, “Just wait.”

The woman cocked her head and then realization began to dawn on her when the thunder of hoof beats was heard in the distance. She looked at me in terror and the driver hung his head.

Major Murphy rode into sight with about four troopers. My eyes never left the two as the Confederate contingent stopped a few yards behind me and Major Murphy asked, “Did ya get another bunch, Jim?”

I responded, “I believe so, Major. This woman and her driver were tha ones who were transporting Throckmorton. I believe they’re part of tha spy ring, and if I were ya, I would put tha Lieutenant down at yar outpost In Martinsburg through some intense interrogation.”

The woman started to say something, but I bellowed, “Yar gonna get yar chance to talk once ya get to a Martinsburg garrison cell.”

She stopped abruptly and began to cry.

I turned to the Major, handed over the weapons that I had accumulated from the two and said, “Well sir, I’ll leave them in yar able hands.”

The Major’s eyes went wide with all the armament I gave him.

I added, “If I were ya, I would watch ‘em like a hawk.”

The Major nodded. We saluted and I called for Stonewall. Once he came trotting to me, I mounted and we rode toward home.

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Civil War Transcendence, part 432

Having a hot Colt pistol barrel put to his temple, wasn’t Throckmorton’s idea of fun. His body tensed and he gasp for breath. I don’t believe the pain from his injuries held a candle to the possibility of being executed on the spot.

He tried to say something, but I pushed the Colt barrel harder into his temple and growled, “Shut up.”

Neither of us moved. I believe we knew the identity of the riders we could hear in the distance predicated our fates.

I let out a deep breath that I didn’t know I was holding when Major Murphy at the head of about sixteen troopers rounded the bend.

Throckmorton’s body sagged like a balloon with a fast leak.

I pushed Throckmorton forward and jammed my Colt back in my belt. Throckmorton squealed in pain as he staggered forward.

Major Murphy brought his troop to a halt and I saluted. He returned my salute and said, “Well Jim, I see ya already got ‘im.”

I answered, “Yes, but we need to get him to a place where we can protect him from getting shot like some of his partners. Would ya take him to yar garrison and hold him there for further action?”

Major Murphy beamed from ear to ear. “It would be my privilege to incarcerate this treasonous dog.”

I chuckled and said, “Well take him right now because I don’t know when another Yank patrol will appear in tha area.”

Major Murphy replied, “I understand.” The Major indicated to one of his troopers to dismount and mount Throckmorton on his horse. He told the dismounted trooper to ride double with the Troop’s corporal.

While his orders were being carried out, I added, “Major, please write in yar report that ya received my sergeant’s telegraph about rendezvousing with me as planned south of Williamsport. My report will deal with tha chase and capture of Throckmorton, as well as the turnover of his person to ya.”

The Major nodded his agreement. We saluted each other and he and his contingent immediately started for his garrison near Martinsburg.

By this time, the carriage in which Throckmorton had been sitting had turned around and returned to the scene of the spy’s untimely ejection. For some reason I pulled my Colt with my right hand and held it alongside my right leg as the vehicle pulled to a stop beside me. I wasn’t totally surprised to see that the lone passenger was the snobbish young woman that had been visiting the lieutenant at the Confederate outpost in Martinsburg a while back.

As usual, the harpy had a snarl on her face as she demanded, “I’ll dare ya shoot at our carriage and frighten my horses.”

I looked up at the driver, who was staring straight ahead. To make sure he didn’t have a weapon on his person, I said, “Ya, driver, get down.”

The driver turned to look at me with a fearful expression. Then he looked at the young woman, who looked at me and said, “I dare ya to talk to my driver like that.

I looked at her with a grimace and pointed the Colt at the driver. Without taking my eyes off the woman I said, “Ya have harbored a traitor and spy for tha Union in yar carriage. I will talk to ya anyway I please.”

This brought a gasp from the woman, who put one hand to her mouth as if to stifle a scream and the other hand to her chest as if she could have a heart attack any minute.

The driver got down off the carriage in a jiffy and the woman cowered as I looked at her without one ounce of respect or pity.

 

 

 

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Civil War Transcendence, part 431

I held on for dear life as Stonewall executed one of his tremendous leaps and began galloping down the side street. As I passed by the side of the Throckmorton house, I saw that Al had dismounted and was at the Throckmorton back door. I yelled, “Get to the telegraph office and send a telegraph to Major Murphy in Martinsburg to patrol the road to Williamsport and stop anyone on a black stallion trying to cross the Potomac.”

Al yelled, “Will do!”

I kept Stonewall at an easy lope as I weaved my way through the town traffic and headed out Duke Street to the north. I figured that Throckmorton left at least 30 to 45 minutes ago and was riding like the wind toward Williamsport where he could cross the Potomac and head into Pennsylvania.

As I exited the town to the north, I nudged Stonewall into a gallop. He stretched out his legs and went into hyper-drive.  I let him run to his heart’s content for a few miles. Then I gently applied the reins and brought him into a fast walk. He was breathing pretty hard, so I let him walk until he got his wind back. At that point, I nudged him again and we were off like the wind. I did this a few more times until we hit the old highway that ran through the Shenandoah Valley all the way to Williamsport, Maryland.

During our jaunt we hadn’t seen hide nor hair of the elusive Throckmorton. I remember the black stallion that had been housed in Mr. Heintz livery stable in Shepherdstown, but I never had an inkling it belonged to Throckmorton.

About a mile after joining the Valley Pike, as we came around a bend in the road, I spied an abandoned black stallion by the side the road with its weight distributed on only three legs while favoring its right front leg. The stallion was still breathing hard, but there was no sign of Throckmorton.

Hoping that Throckmorton hadn’t procured other means of travel, I nudged Stonewall forward into a gallop. However, in just a few hundred yards, I viewed an open carriage with three occupants headed north toward the Potomac Crossing at Williamsport. One of the occupants was seated with his back to me and had taken off his hat. Throckmorton’s bald head was undeniably identifiable.

Throckmorton had made one mistake when he entered the carriage. He couldn’t see the road to the rear of the carriage. Taking advantage of his faux pas, I pulled a Colt from my belt with my right hand, leaned low over the saddle and directed Stonewall to utilize the grassy shoulder of the road so our approached would be muffled instead of a loud clippity-clop on the hard road bed.

I made it almost to the back of the carriage before Throckmorton turned around and saw me. He knelt down on his seat, leaned over the back of the carriage, pulled a small derringer from his vest pocket, aimed it at me and pulled the

trigger. I kneed Stonewall with my right knee, and he veered to the right just as I felt the wind from Throckmorton’s bullet whiz pass my left ear. I raised my Colt high in the air and fired two quick shots. The noise had the effect that I had hoped. The carriage horses shot forward and Throckmorton was hurled over the back of the seat. He landed in the middle of the road and rolled over a few times before coming to a halt.

We went past Throckmorton’s form like a bolt of lightning. So, I gently reined Stonewall around to go back to the site of the smack down.

I kept my Colt aimed at Throckmorton as Stonewall walked up to the villain.

Throckmorton was a lucky man. Although still lying in the middle of the road, he was moaning and holding his right arm. Most people would have had their neck broken with such a fall from a moving carriage.

Keeping Throckmorton in my sights, I dismounted and walked toward the master spy. As I got close to him, he suddenly pulled his derringer from the inside of his coat and was bringing it up to aim at me, when I kicked the pistol from his hand. I heard a snapping sound and Throckmorton howled like a she-wolf from the pain.

Feeling no pity for this traitor and killer by proxy, I smiled at his distress.

I grabbed the miniscule mole and hauled him to his feet which brought another howl of pain from the munchkin.  I quickly searched him for other weapons, which produced a long bowie knife in a sheath stuck in his belt at the small of his back.

Just as I relieved Throckmorton of the last of his armament, I heard in the distance the sound of many horses coming from the south. Since this area was sort of a no-man’s land, it could be either Rebs or Yanks.

Even though Throckmorton was in pain, he gave a chuckle indicating that he thought it would be Yanks. I immediately put my Colt to his head and cocked the hammer.

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Civil War Transcendence, part 430

When I entered the telegraph office, Pvt. Richards and Pvt. Gray jumped to attention and saluted. I returned their salutes and asked for pencil and paper. I quickly drafted a message to Mosby, asking him to ride to Shepherdstown with a contingent of cavalry to take possession of one of the chief spies in the local spy ring.

I gave the message to Pvt. Charles Richards, the telegraph operator, who in my old universe was my great-great-grandfather. As usual, all the history here is all muddled up. In this universe, he is almost a thousand miles north of where he lived in my old universe. Another weird and intriguing fact in my old universe is that Oscar Gray was Hattie Gray’s father. Who is Papa that Hattie is always referring to? If the Oscar Gray in the telegraph office is Oscar Gray, Jr. then he is Hattie’s brother. I got a headache just trying to understand how both Charles and Hattie could co-exist in their early twenties in this universe. It definitely is mind boggling.

Anyway, while Pvt. Richards was sending my message, I ask Pvt. Gray, “Are ya Hattie Gray’s brother?”

He looked shunned and then answered, “Yes, I am.”

I just nodded and waited for Pvt. Richards to finish sending my message. At least one of many questions was answered.

Once my message went through, almost immediately Pvt. Richards got a return message indicating Mosby would be leaving Harpers Ferry for Shepherdstown within the hour.

I thanked the two Privates and went back to the bank. In the meantime, Al had found some rope and tied Eldredge to a chair. Eldredge looked as if he had aged fifty years. His hang-dog expression was accentuated by tear stained cheeks.

I took Al aside and said, “Mosby is on his way here. I believe that Throckmorton has skedaddled, but I have to check it out just the same. I’m gonna need ya to back me up.”

Nodding toward Eldredge, I said, “Let’s take this varmint down to tha telegraph office and leave him with tha two soldiers there while we check out Throckmorton’s house.”

Al said, “Sounds good to me.”

We untied Eldredge, except for his hands, and marched him to the telegraph office. There was an extra chair there, so we sat him down and tied him up again. I got out my bandana and stuffed it in Eldredge’s mouth.

Once he was secure, I turned to the two Privates and ordered, “This man is not to be untied for any reason. No matter who comes in here and says to untie him. Don’t do it. Refer anyone who tries to get him released to me. Don’t even give him water or let him go to tha outhouse. Don’t even talk to him. He’s like a poisonous snake. He’ll kill ya when ya least expect it. Do y’all understand?”

Both men’s eyes were bulging out of their sockets by the time I had finished. They turned and looked at Eldredge. Then they turned back to me and nodded profusely that they understood.

I said, “Good.” Pointing at Al, I informed them, “We’re gonna go look for Mr. Throckmorton. He’s tha worst snake of them all. If’n he comes in here, get tha drop on him and hold him for me. Do ya understand?”

Both men again nodded in agreement.

Al and I turned and walked out the telegraph office’s door without saying another word. We mounted our horses and rode slowly to the Throckmorton residence located about three blocks away on Washington Street. Before we reached the Throckmorton house, we split up with Al coming in from the back of the house and me from the front.

I leisurely rode to the front gate of the waist high white picket fence that surrounded the two story brick abode and dismounted. Stonewall snorted his “be careful” snort.

Going through the gate and advancing up the walkway to the front porch, the hackles on my neck were standing up. I expected to be shot with each advancing step. Once on the porch, I rapped on the door rather hard.

Almost immediately a black lady in a maid’s dress opened the door and said, “May I help ya, suh?”

I asked, “Is Mr. Throckmorton at home?”

“Naw sir. He just left with Mrs. Throckmorton. They gone away for a few days,” she informed me.

“Could ya tell me if’n they went by carriage or on horseback,” I probed.

“Tis funny ya should ask. Mrs. Throckmorton went down toward Harpers Ferry and Mr. Throckmorton left like he’s headed nawth,” the maid divulged.

“Was he on a horse?” I asked.

“Oh, yes suh. He’s on his black stallion, what he keeps in tha livery stable,” she added.

I doffed my hat and said, “Thank ya very much.”

I ran down the path toward the front gate, barged through it and mounted Stonewall. I turned him toward the side street and said, “Let’s go.”

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Civil War Transcendence, part 429

 

I fired my Colt into the floor between Eldredge’s feet. He jumped about a foot, screamed, and threw up his hands in front of his face. He remained in that position for a while and then began to cry. He opened his eyes and looked at me like I was the devil incarnate. Between sobs he pleaded, “Please don’t shoot me. I’ll tell ya everything. I promise. Don’t shoot me.’

I wasn’t the least bit moved by his performance. I reasoned that the spy ring with which he was affiliated was responsible for the deaths of untold numbers of our soldiers, as well as causing civilian casualties.

Without a preamble I demanded, “How about telling me how long Throckmorton has been a spy for the Union?”

Eldredge batted his eyes and said, “I don’t really know.”

I cocked and fired my pistol again only this time I came a little closer to his right foot.

Eldredge screamed again and yelled, “Sometime in 1859.”

I gave him a look of sheer revulsion and asked, “When did ya join ‘im?”

He hesitated, and I cocked my Colt.

He put his hands up in front of his body and quickly answered, “In 1859.”

“So y’all were in cahoots before the war,” I stated.

Eldredge lowered his head and looked at the floor.

“Where are ya originally from?” I challenged.

Without looking up, he said in a low voice, “Ohio.”

Changing the subject quickly, I rasped, “Who does Throckmorton get his orders from?”

Eldredge looked up and saw that I had the Colt pointed at his chest. He began to cry again and said between snivels, “At first it was tha Colonel over in Boonsboro. Then it was Captain Devlin, but now I don’t know who it is. Don’t shoot me. I promise that I don’t know who it is.”

“When does he get his orders, and how are they delivered to him?” I rejoined.

“He gets ‘em different ways. Sometimes it’s a customer that comes in and gives me papers along with a deposit or withdrawal. I take ‘em to him and he tells us what to do,” Eldredge divulged.

“Who has brought him orders like that in tha past?” I demanded.

He looked at me pleadingly and said, “If’n I tell ya, he’ll have me killed.”

I leaned forward and said, “Al, when was it that Eldredge was shot, trying to escape?”

“Oh, any minute now,” Al answered.

Eldredge’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head. He gasped for breath and then stuttered, “It was three men. One was Mr. Mills from Keedysville. Another was Mr. Kirby from Sharpsburg. I remember another was Mr. Hawks.”

The last name made Al and I look at each other in surprise.

Standing up and looking down on Eldredge, I asked with gritted teeth, “What other ways did he get orders from tha Yanks?”

Eldredge looked up at me in horror. He shrank down in his seat and put up his hands as if to ward me off.

“How?” I roared.

“Sometimes he got messages delivered to his home late at night,” Eldredge revealed.

“What operations did he carry out with Marshal Gill from Harpers Ferry and Marshal Wells from Kearneysville,” I bellowed.

“Well, he, ah, let tha Yank cavalry know when Miss Newcomer was out riding,” he confessed.

In a sarcastic voice, I yelled, “Is that all?”

“No, he gave information about tha best time to raid and burn tha town; where to find and attack ya after tha school dance; when to dynamite tha Potomac Bridge; and when ya crossed tha Potomac and headed into Maryland,” he disclosed.

“He also employed tha sharpshooter that killed Marshal Wells; took a potshot at me; and wounded Major Mosby, didn’t he?” I shouted.

Eldredge hid his head in his hands and nodded vigorously.

I felt the anger turn from raging hot to bitter cold. I stood up straight and looked down on the Yankee spy with an icy gaze.

Al must have been watching me closely and knew what that meant because he said in a low voice, “If’n ya kill ‘im, we’ll never find out all tha people that helped ‘em and where Throckmorton is likely to run to.”

I turned to look at Al. He looked me in the eyes and didn’t flinch.

Finally, I turned back, looked at Eldredge and said over my shoulder, as I began to walk toward the bank’s front door, “Ya keep him company. I’m gonna telegraph Mosby to come pick ‘im up.”

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Civil War Transcendence, part 428

 

I knew that Throckmorton was behind the local spy ring. His killers had tried to kill me, Daphne and my friends.  The ride-by shooting was the last straw.  I couldn’t allow this to go on. That was what led to the confrontation in the bank.

In prior confrontations, the perpetrators had been killed or gotten away. However, the difference this time was we had captured a viable local member of the spy ring, and he was ready to squeal. I wasn’t about to let him out of my sight. If I did, he would turn up deader’n a door nail, just like all the rest we had captured.

I kept aiming my Colt at Eldredge and ordered him, “Get in Throckmorton’s office and put your hands on his desk.”

Eldredge gave me a questioning look, but finally nodded and walked into Throckmorton’s windowless inter sanctum.  He put his hands on the banker’s desk. I immediately commanded, “Move your legs back and spread ‘em.”

The teller turned his head to look at me with a quizzical look.

I was sick and tired of this whole bunch of killers, snipers and sneaky spies, so I jammed my Colt into the back of Eldredge’s neck and yelled, “You heard me. Now do it.”

I have never seen a person react so quickly. Eldredge backed his legs up, which caused him to lean on the desk. However, he didn’t comply with the second item of my order so I kicked his right leg and yelled, “I said. Spread ‘em.”

Eldredge moved his legs further apart.  He now was off balance with most of his weight on his hands. I moved my Colt down to the middle of his back and cocked the hammer.

Eldredge began to tremble and pleaded, “Please don’t shoot me.”

“Why shouldn’t I?” I retorted.

Eldredge began to whimper just as Al walked in.

Al took one look at the situation and said, “Don’t do it Jim.”

Eldredge turned to look at Al. Then he looked at me with a hopefully expression and said, “Please listen to your companion.”

Al added, “Let me shoot him instead.”

Eldredge got a horrified look on his face, turned back to face the desk and began to cry.

I chuckled and said, “Al, keep a close eye on this bird.”

Al drew his pistol and said, “I got ‘im, Jim.”

I uncocked my Colt, stuck it in my belt and performed a quick search of Eldredge, which produced a small derringer in his vest pocket and a sheathed knife stuck in his belt, in the small of his back and underneath his vest.

I slapped Eldredge across the back of his head and said, “Sit down you slimy traitor.”

Eldredge ducked his head from the blow and pushed himself to a standing position. He looked at me with tears running down his face with an expectant expression. I gripped Eldredge’s cache with my left hand, pulled out my Colt with my right, pointed it at a chair and said, “Sit.”

Eldredge let out a sight of relief and sat down.

I sat on the edge of Throckmorton’s desk and threw Eldredge’s weapons on Throckmorton’s desk.  Pointing my Colt at Eldredge, I declared, “Quite a lot of armament for a bank teller. Don’t’ ya think?”

Eldredge gave a half-hearted smile and nodded.

I smiled back and, nodding slowly, declared in a sarcastic tone, “Now we’re gonna have a very in-depth conversation about what’s been going on around here over tha last eight months. Aren’t we?”

Eldredge looked at me with a fearful expression, but didn’t say anything.

I pulled the Colt’s trigger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Civil War Transcendence, part 427

I walked over and hoisted myself into Stonewall’s saddle.

Lieutenant Kirkland and Al mounted their cayuses, also.  Al was still looking apprehensively in my direction. I know he thought I was coming down with some sort of illness.

I looked at him, smiled and said, “Al, I’m alright. Don’t be a mother hen.”

He grinned and retorted, “Ya never can tell when ya might get hurt again. For a time back there, I thought ya might have been shot and didn’t even know it.”

I chuckled and returned, “If’n I was hurt, I’d let ya know. If’n I didn’t, Daphne would whip me within an inch of my life.”

Al chuckled, and looking at Kirkland, said, “Lieutenant, don’t let the Capt’n fool ya. His wife would have my guts for garters if I let anything happen to him.”

Lieutenant Kirkland looked back and forth between Al and me. Finally, he shook his head and said, “Y’all definitely have a comradery in the Third Virginny Cavalry that is to be envied.”

I looked at the Lieutenant and added, “Ya are a part of tha Third now. Ya are our compatriot. We take care of our own.”

Kirkland grinned from ear to ear and said, “It’s a privilege to be in tha Third.”

I grinned and looked at both men. Then I got a serious look on my face and said, “I would like for us to visit Mr. Throckmorton at the bank.”

Suddenly the grin on Al’s face was replaced by a frown, and Kirkland looked at me with a questioning expression.

 

 

I turned Stonewall toward the bank, and we walked our horses to the largest brick edifice in Shepherdstown.

We dismounted and entered the bank. No bank patrons were present. However, the two tellers on duty looked up as we strolled in. Mr. Eldredge, the clerk that had opened my bank account, asked, “Is there some way I could help you gentlemen?”

“Yes, is Mr. Throckmorton in?” I asked.

“No suh. He left just before all tha shooting occurred at tha telegraph office,” Mr. Eldredge remarked.

“Know where he went?” I asked.

“He went out back and got on his horse.  I think he headed to his house,” answered Eldredge.

“Where does he live?” I inquired.

“Why do ya ask?” intoned Mr. Eldredge with an edge to his voice.

“What’s it to ya?” I retorted belligerently.

Mr. Eldredge had been standing behind one of the teller windows. My shocking rejoinder made him take a step backwards. However, he quickly recovered and stepped back to his original position as his haughty veneer returned.

I looked at Eldredge with as much disdain as I could muster and added, “In answer to yar question, we’ve come to clean out a nest of vipers.” Then I pulled out one of my Colts and pointed it at him.

Eldredge’s eyes widened, as he raised his hands and rasped, “They made me do it. They made me do it.”

I saw movement out of the corner of my eye as the other teller pulled a gun out of his belt. However, he didn’t have a chance to point it before he was blown off his feet and landed on his back. I turned and saw that Al had a smoking Colt in his hand.  I smiled and nodded. Al grinned and returned my nod.

I kept my pistol pointed at Eldredge and said, “Lieutenant Kirkland, I think ya better tell Major Mosby in Harpers Ferry that he is needed here as soon as possible.” I took a quick glance at Kirkland. His eyes were as big as saucers and his mouth was open so wide that it was the perfect trap for flies.

Finally, he stuttered, “Yes suh,” and exited the bank for the telegraph office.

I gestured with my pistol for Eldredge to back up, which he immediately performed.

Walking to the waist-high gate to the rear of the bank with my pistol still pointed at the teller, I said, “Al, why don’t cha close and lock the doors to the bank and put up the ‘Closed’ sign. When yar done, come join Mr. Eldredge and me in Mr. Throckmorton’s office. ”

Al said, “Sure nuff, Jim.”

 

 

 

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