Civil War Transcendence – part 69


Captain Mosby looked at me curiously and asked, “Is something wrong?”

“No, not at all,” I quickly answered, as I looked more closely at the Captain’s face.

John Mosby portrait

John Mosby portrait via

He was clean shaven. I had always remembered the picture of him amongst his men and having a beard.  But focusing on his features, I recognized him.

Due to my forwardness, he asked, “Have we met before?”

“Yes,” I answered, “in another lifetime.”

He was surprised by my reply, but he couldn’t ask for further explanation because the contingent of Confederate cavalry came galloping down the road.

There were about 16 troopers in a column of two’s, and as they came to a halt, a second sergeant, who was apparently in charge, saluted smartly and reported for duty.

The Captain asked if any more troopers were on the way.  The sergeant replied there were about 20 more coming, but it would be about 45 minutes before they would be able to rendezvous with us. Captain Mosby stated that we couldn’t wait on them. We had to move now.

We galloped north on the River Road to meet the Yanks. Captain Mosby was in the lead with me, by his side, as the guide.

We thundered down the road for about two and a half miles without seeing any Yanks. I could feel the Captain’s eyes on me, and I know he was thinking I had brought him on a wild goose chase.

However, as we rounded a bend in the road, a civilian flagged us down. He introduced himself as Jonathan Shumaker and said that a bunch of Yanks had passed his place about 20 minutes ago.  He told us they took off cross country to the west, probably to hit the Shepherdstown Pike north of Halltown.

Captain Mosby touched his hand to the brim of his hat, thanked the man profusely, and promised, “We’re gonna give the Yanks what fur.”

I looked at him skeptically since our unit was only about half as big as theirs.

I all of a sudden began to understand the danger of what I had gotten myself into. I could get permanently and truly dead from this little adventure.

We had to take it easy due to the thickness of the woods, but we continued at a fast trot. After about 25 minutes, Captain Mosby held up his hand, and we all stopped immediately.

He motioned for the sergeant to come forward. Once the sergeant had come abreast, Mosby pointed ahead and said in a whisper, “Yankee Cavalry.”


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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