Civil War Transcendence, part 70


Captain Mosby whispered to the sergeant to have the men maneuver as quietly as possible into a single line facing the Yanks. The message was relayed to the troopers, and they silently walked their horses into a battle line behind the Captain and me.

I turned around and noticed that they were all behind us. For the first time, I realized the Captain and I were out front. I sort of gulped and looked at Mosby. He grinned and winked at me. He slowly pulled his revolver from his holster with his right hand and held his horse’s reins in his left hand. I mimicked him by pulling my revolver from my belt with my right hand and gripped Sampson’s reins in my left.

Our unit was located in thick, dark woods. The Yanks had already been through this area and had broken out into a field of wheat that was about four feet tall. They were about 75 yards from us walking in a column, heading west with their backs to us. They had no flankers or rear guard, probably because of their rapid movement, and the lack of enemy contact had lulled them into a sense of confidence.

Captain Mosby looked to his left and right to make sure the troopers were watching him. When he had made sure that all eyes were on him, he lifted his right hand and signaled to move forward. All of us, as if we could read his mind, started to walk our horses toward the end of the woods and to the beginning of the wheat field.

To say that I was scared is an understatement. Adrenaline must have been flowing in my body like Niagara Falls because my heart was beating 90 to nothing. I was sweating profusely. My palms were so wet that it was hard to hold my revolver, but I kept to the right and abreast of the Captain.

Sampson must have felt my anxiety because I was having a hard time holding him back. I don’t know if he sensed what was about to occur and wanted to either fight or take to flight. In my case it was flight. I was just hoping that Sampson would not let go with one of his famous whinnies. I guess the pressure of the bit on his mouth applied by my frequent pulling back on the reins kept his mind off making any sound.

Just as we reached the end of the woods, Captain Mosby yelled, “Charge!”


Capt. Mosby and Friend

“Captain Mosby and Friend” from Library of Congress
Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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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