Civil War Transcendence, Part 66


Sampson was a very appropriate name for this steed. When I kicked him, he took off like a rocket, and I was almost thrown out of the saddle.

I was barely able to catch hold of the saddle horn and pulled myself back into a controlled seated position. I could feel the stamina and strength emanating from this galloping machine I had straddled.

Horse RiderI had decided I would keep on the road until I approached the end of the Union Cavalry troop column, and then veer off the road to the right. Once past the Yanks, I could circle back onto the River Road and hightail it for Harpers Ferry. All of this was with the hope that the Yank column wouldn’t see me during any my maneuvering.

I reined Sampson into a steady lope, so as not to tire him out. I figured the Yanks were about one or two miles ahead of me, and I hoped they had slowed down to do some reconnoitering. It seemed like forever, but it must have been about 30 minutes when I saw the last two troopers of the Yank column disappear around a bend in the road up ahead.

I reined Sampson in and walked him to the edge of the bend. I dismounted, tied Sampson to a tree, and approached the bend on foot. I peered around some underbrush to see what was ahead.

The Yank Column had slowed to a walk on the River Road. I returned to where I had left Sampson. He was breathing hard, but the wild look in his eyes told me he hadn’t had a chance to run like this in a long time. I could sense he was enjoying it.

I mounted and walked Sampson up the road from whence I came to get well out of site of the Yanks. Then, I walked Sampson off the road to the west. We proceeded about 150 yards through dense woods that harbored not much undergrowth. Thus, Sampson wasn’t cut by any bushes or low tree branches. I thanked heavens for that.

We headed west another 50 yards or so and then turned south toward Harpers Ferry, parallel to the Yank column. Sampson had just about gotten his breath back, so I kicked him into a trot. The leaves in the woods must have been damp from a rain, because Sampson’s hooves emitted only a muffled sound.

We had traveled about 15 minutes, dodging trees and skirting a few thickets, when I heard a horse whinny up ahead.

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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