A NOVEL OF TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
I tried to think of ways to contact the Confederate Garrison at Harpers Ferry.
The fastest way would be by telegraph, but there were no cities on this road that had a telegraph. Also, there were no Chesapeake & Ohio canal locks on the other side of the Potomac that I could contact to send a messenger. Lastly, there was no railroad in the vicinity that I could flag down to send a message to Harpers Ferry.
If I could contact a boat on the Potomac River, which ran close to the River Road, I could get them to send a message, but it would take them a long time to arrive in Harpers Ferry.
I finally decided that the only way to get word to the Confederates was to ride to Harpers Ferry myself.
I looked around for the nearest farm house, but none was in site. I kicked Beau like the dickens and got him to a fast trot headed north. A two story house loomed in the distance, and I kept Beau moving until I entered the front yard of the house.
A lady in a homespun dress came out on the porch to see who I was and asked, “What’s ya doing stranger?”
I quickly explained that I had to get word to the Confederates in Harpers Ferry, since a Union Cavalry Patrol was headed that way. I gave her a quick synopsis of meeting the Cavalry on the road.
I asked if she had any fast horses that I could ride back to Harpers Ferry. The lady eyeballed Beau, and after looking me up and down, let out a huff.
I reassured her that what I had stated was truthful and that I would return the horse as soon as I had alerted the Confederate garrison. I added that I was the new school teacher in Shepherdstown, and Mr. Throckmorton, the local banker could vouch for me.
I guess the latter statement sort of gave her the okay to trust me, and she said, “There’s a black stallion in the barn, but you’ll have to saddle him yourself.”
I thanked her and kicked Beau into another fast trot to the barn.
I didn’t have as much trouble with the stallion as I thought I would. He was in a stall, and although he wasn’t familiar with me, he allowed me to put a horse blanket and saddle on his back and clinch it up tight. Thank heavens I remembered how to tie all the straps from my horse riding days as a youth!
I tied up Beau and mounted the stallion.
I headed back to the house, and the lady came back out on the porch. I asked her the name of the horse.
“Sampson,” she replied.
She asked if I had any firearms, and when I said no, handed me a six shot Colt pistol.
She said if I was going to get past the Yanks, I would have to skirt to the west or right side of the road. The east or left side of the road was too steep and dropped off toward the river.
I thanked her profusely and headed Sampson toward Harpers Ferry. I kicked him hard, and we took off like a bullet.