Everyone who had helped put out the fires and was in the process of cleaning up was traumatized. The raiders’ vandalism had shocked the town and the dance attendees from across the Potomac near Sharpsburg. If a raid could happen in Shepherdstown, Virginia, it could happen in Sharpsburg, Maryland, too.
I had the wagon driver stop the wagon when we reached the bottom of German Street. I finally really looked at him. It was Mr. Mumma. I thanked him profusely for his skilled chase of the raiders and for keeping the wagon upright on the dangerous turn from German Street onto Halltown Road. All the men in the wagon came and patted him on the back and thanked him, also.
I asked, “Who did we let out here to call the fire brigades and begin the cleanup before we took off after the raiders?”
Jonah said, “One of the men was Mr. Pry because he gave me his rifle.”
Jeremy piped in, “The other was Mr. Miller. He loaned me his rifle.”
“Do y’all see either of them?” I responded.
Everyone looked around and two of the men in the wagon said, “We see ‘em.”
I asked apologetically, “Could someone go gather them up? We need to get back to the school.”
Jonah and Jeremy said, “We’ll go get ‘em.” Then they were off running like gazelles to bring the men back to us.
In the meantime, I asked Mr. Pry who the town marshal was and he said it was Jed Wells. I asked where we might find him and Mr. Pry told me that Wells was the marshal for both Shepherdstown and Kearneysville, but he spent most of his time in Kearneysville. Since he wasn’t there, we turned the raider’s body over to the local mortician, who happened to have been one of the cleanup crew.
I asked everyone to get down out of the wagon and for a few men to take the body of the raider and lay it on the sidewalk. Once this was accomplished, I got back on the wagon bed and, in a very loud voice, asked all the townsfolk if they would take a look at the raiders’ body and tell us if they recognized him.
There were about fifty people who had gathered for the cleanup and it took about thirty minutes for everyone to view the remains, but no one came forward declaring that they recognized him. The lack of recognition brought two possibilities to mind.
The body prompted the cleanup crew to ask what had happened on the chase. When the stories being told by the wagon troops were approaching tall tales, I called a halt and said we needed to get back to the dance.
The whole episode had taken a toll on everyone. As we moseyed back to the schoolhouse, we were all played out from the adrenaline rush of the chase and shooting at the raiders. The Sage brothers were still a little slaphappy and enjoying their first real taste of firing a rifle at an enemy. I was just thankful that I was still alive. I just wanted to see Daphne and have a few stolen moments alone with her.