A NOVEL OF TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
I reined in Sampson abruptly, dismounted, and put my hand over his nose. I had seen this done a hundred times in the cowboy movies. I hoped it would keep him from answering the whinny from the horse up ahead.
I could barely make out a horse and rider through the thick woods, about 75 yards up the trail. Abruptly, two horsemen rode toward the unknown rider. There ensued a conversation, and the three riders rode back to the River Road.
I had a hard time holding Sampson’s reins with my hand over his nose. He was really acting up, because he wanted to neigh to the three horses. I was able to walk him around and settle him down, but it was a hard job.
I got one good look at the riders as they headed to the road. Two were Yanks, and the third one was a woman. One of the Yanks had her reins and was leading her horse toward the main body of cavalry.
The first thing that entered my mind was: Kidnapped.
I mounted Sampson, and we continued skirting the Yankee column for a few hundred yards. I figured that the Yanks had their hands full with the woman, so her capture had bought me some time.
I started angling Sampson toward the River Road, and after what seemed like an eternity, we hit the main road. I kicked Sampson hard.
This time, I was ready for his burst of speed, and we took off like a shot. I ran him at full gallop for about 20 minutes, but it seemed like an hour. I started to see houses, the closer we got to Harpers Ferry.
Suddenly, the road turned southwest. I wanted to go south, so I left the road and rode cross country toward Bolivar Heights. I guessed that if there were any Confederates in the area, they would have a lookout post on the highest prominence this side of the two rivers.
Sampson was starting to fade; so I let him lope instead of gallop. We hit the road that ran along the top of the heights, and we encountered people walking along the road.
I saw a gentleman in his finery, walking along the road, and reined Sampson to a halt. I asked where the closest Confederate contingent was located. He said straight ahead about two more blocks. I thanked him and kicked Sampson hard.
We rode off in a cloud of dust.