Civil War Transcendence, part 134

We followed the raiders a few hundred feet down the road, but they had already outdistanced us and were in full retreat.

I yelled at the driver to slow down. When he did, the men stopped yelling and got to laughing. Then came the pats on the back and the exclamations of, “I guess we showed ‘em, didn’t we?”

When the driver got the team of horses under control, I yelled out, “Great job, men!” Then I added, “Not to put a damper on the fire, but I guess we better pick up the raider that y’all hit and get back to town. They might need our help to put out fires.”

Unfortunately, this did sort of brought the exuberance to a halt and everyone was fearful that the town could be ablaze by now. The wagon driver turned the team around and headed back to town at a slower pace to give them some breathing room. They had been racing to beat the band. Once we had gone about a quarter of a mile, the pace was picked up to a trot and we covered ground quickly.

134 deadWe found the raider lying face down on the right side of the road. We all got out of the wagon and examined him. He was quite young, probably not over twenty years of age. He had been wounded in the left shoulder, but his neck was also broken. We determined he had been unhorsed by the bullet and landed in the road in such a way that his neck was broken by the fall. I asked if any of the men could identify him, but it was too dark to get a good look at him, so we put his body in the back of the wagon and headed back to town.

The men became quite depressed that they had killed the youth. Then they started to voice the questions that all of us were thinking.

“Reckon why had they attacked our town? Were they Unionist from Central Maryland or Pennsylvania?”

We had families that were from just across the Potomac in Maryland that had close ties to Shepherdstown, so there was no suspicion they were from Sharpsburg.

We made it back to the intersection at the west end of town where German Street crosses Halltown Road and turned east to go down German Street toward the main part of town. We passed a multitude of people working on the cleanup of broken glass and some inside charring of buildings, but there were no fires to douse. The townsfolk’s quick response to the raiders had quelled any large fires.

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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