I stared at Captain Mosby and finally said, “Captain, what am I to do?”
He replied, “Well, I don’t envy you the enemies you have made in the last 48 hours, but the first thing I would do is start to carry a revolver. And, if you aren’t proficient in shooting, I would get that way as soon as possible.”
I asked, “Do you have a pistol that I can borrow?”
“Unfortunately, I personally don’t,” he answered, “but our Northern Brethren did supply us with a cache of arms, and I can give you two pistols before they are entered into our inventory. I am going to give you two Navy Colts and some ammunition. They are our favorites, as well as the Yankee cavalry. I will show you how to load them, but you will have to learn to shoot them.”
“Mr. Hager, your alerting us to the presence of the Yankees today helped to put a crimp in their operations, and if I may say so, advanced my career immeasurably. I am obliged to you.”
I responded, “Please call me Jim, and it was the least I could do for the country.”
We stood and shook hands as friends for the first time. Captain Mosby spent about half an hour teaching me the intricate loading of the Navy Colts. He also gave me a few extra loaded cylinders that I prepared, under his tutelage, which I could use to replace the spent cylinders after I had fired 6 shots.
Finally, he asked me where I was going to sleep for the night, and I answered that I didn’t have a place to stay. He offered me a bunk in the back room of the outpost that he normally would be using. He was going to be relieved at midnight, and his commander wanted to see him at 10:30PM at headquarters to go over his report.
The Captain also had his orderly unsaddle Beau and bed him down for the night with two other horses in the outpost stable. I bid the Captain goodbye, lay down in the proffered bunk, and immediately fell into a fitful sleep.