Civil War Transcendence: Part 44


Harper's Ferry historic photo via Library of Congress

Harper’s Ferry historic photo via Library of Congress

I took my time going back to my room at the mill. I think I had exceeded what little bit of strength I had built up.

I spent the next couple of days just sitting on the river bank, watching the barge traffic come and go.  I got to thinking; if I went to the local newspaper office and started looking at all the back issues, word would get around.  That might look suspicious.

I finally made up my mind to go to another town to do my Civil War research.  I would go to Harper’s Ferry.  However, in this time period in my old universe, the Yanks had possession of that city.

I needed to find out if the Rebs or the Yanks were garrisoned there now. If the Rebs had it, I would probably have no trouble entering and leaving the town. So, I asked Hattie.

“When I was back east and coming this way,” I began, “I didn’t ask anyone about what had happened to Harper’s Ferry. Is it occupied by the Yanks?”

She looked at me with that “he’s definitely addled” look and exclaimed, “Lord have mercy child! Where have you been – stuck in a cave?”

“General Jackson done took Harper’s Ferry in May of this year,” she continued.

“He has an army in the Valley and has been keeping the Yanks at bay for nigh on to a year.  They been trying to get at him, but Ole Joe Johnston has been giving them fits over near Fredericksburg for about the same length of time. They trade off helping each other when the Yanks come out of Washington City.”

I muttered, “Well, I haven’t been keeping up with the particulars. I just know’d I wanted to be in this here part of the country and not under Yankee rule.”

She just sighed and shook her head.

I asked her how far it was to Harper’s Ferry.

She said it was about 18 miles and much too far to walk, unless I planned to spent the night there.  I mentioned I just wanted to check out the town, since I had heard so much about it.  She suggested I could rent a horse or a buggy at the livery stable in town. I thanked her for the idea and allowed I’d do so, first thing in the morning.

I was up at dawn, rip roaring and ready to go. I had a mission to accomplish, and I was going to see historic Harper’s Ferry!

The first thing I was going to check at their newspaper office was whether John Brown had attacked the place on October 16, 1859.

About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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