I ushered Daphne into the schoolhouse as fast as I could and yelled for Mr. Heintz to stop the music.
I said, “We have horsemen on German Street with torches. Did anybody bring their weapons?”
About eight hands went up. I told them to gather their guns and meet me in front of the school. I went to my desk and got my two revolvers and stuck them in my belt. I looked at Daphne and mouthed, “I love you.” Then I ran out the door.
It took a few minutes for the regional force to gather, but once we were all there, the armed men jumped in a wagon that had been confiscated for our counterattack. At the last possible second, Jonah and Jeremy piled in the back of the wagon. Then we raced for the east end of town at breakneck speed.
By the time we made it to east German Street and stopped, the raiders had proceeded west on this same street and had thrown torches in a few store windows, plus the bank and the pharmacy. In the distance, we saw them as they turned south on Halltown/Harpers Ferry Road.
I yelled at two of the men to get out of the wagon, give their guns to Jonah and Jeremy, wake the town and get a fire brigade going. The rest of us stayed in the wagon and raced up German Street toward the raiders. I yelled at everybody that when we saw the raiders we were going to fire a volley and charge the wagon straight at them. Everyone nodded their assent. We made it to west German Street and almost overturned when the driver tried to turn too sharply to the south. He fought to keep the horses under control and got the wagon going straight again, but we all had to grab the sides of the wagon to keep from being thrown out. This was hard to do while holding rifles and pistols. However, everyone recovered and our wagon of mad townspeople thundered pell-mell into the night.
After about two hundred yards we could see a few torches on the road ahead. I yelled for the men to get ready. We all aimed over the wagon driver’s head and, as we got closer to the raiding party, we could see they had stopped in the road to see what was following them. We could see men on horseback begin to throw down their torches and draw their pistols. I yelled at the men to fire. It wasn’t like a veteran military unit firing at once, but it got the job done. I saw one man get knocked from his saddle and the rest skedaddle. I got so caught up in the moment that I began to scream my version of the Rebel Yell and fire my pistols at the retreating raiding party. Jonah and then Jeremy also took up the yell, and before long the whole wagonload of us was screaming like a bunch of banshees. If our gunfire didn’t scare the raiders off, our screaming certainly did. We had definitely gone from normal townspeople to berserkers.