Civil War Transcendence, part 139

The fact that Willie Douglas had observed the dead raider in town and speaking to Marshal Wells the previous day raised all kinds of questions.

Since we were the last people to view the body, I asked Jonah and Jeremy if anyone had recognized the raider. They said no one had made identification. I thanked them for their service tonight, both during the chase of the raiders and their help with the setup of the raider’s body. I asked if their parents had gone home and they indicated they had already left. I told the boys to tell the mortician he could take the body and for them to get home as fast as they could due to the threat of raiders in the area. I also added I needed to speak with them privately on Monday at school.

They said, “Yes, sir,” in unison and took off like greyhounds.

Daphne looked at me thoughtfully and remarked, “You sure have them cooperating with you willingly. How did you do that?”

I answered, “It a long story and better left for another time.”

She smiled knowingly and commented, “I just bet it is.”

I asked if they could delay their trip home until I sent a telegram to Harpers Ferry. Mrs. Douglas, Daphne and Willie registered their surprise, but they all agreed to the postponement. I had the carriage driver take us to the bank.

Sure enough, Mr. Throckmorton had a light on in the bank. We all piled out of the carriage and I knocked on the door. Mr. Throckmorton opened the door. He had indeed procured the telegraph operator, who had also helped in putting out the fires and participated in the town cleanup. He was introduced to me as Mr. Enos Black. I asked if he could send a telegram to the Confederate Cavalry outpost in Harpers Ferry tonight.

This got a rise out of Mr. Throckmorton. Mr. Black recovered quickly said that he could. I asked if he thought there would be an operator on the other end of the line. He indicated they had an operator there at all times. I then asked if he could take me to the telegraph office for me to compose the telegraph.

139 telegraphMr. Black quickly ushered me to the telegraph office about two doors down from the bank. I took a pen, dipped it in an ink well and began to write.

“Captain Mosby (stop) The town was hit tonight by about ten raiders (stop) Destruction was minimal (stop) The townsfolk chased raiders away and killed one (stop) Really need to speak to you in private (stop) Can you come to Shepherdstown (Stop) Hager”

Mr. Black took my short missive and sent it humming over the wires to Harpers Ferry. He got an acknowledgement that it was received and that it would be delivered to Captain Mosby in the morning.

I thanked Mr. Black, paid him for the transmittal and, as I went back to pick up the ladies and Willie, I began to ponder. Something was transpiring that wasn’t good. First, there was the Yankee patrol. Then, the Jones Gang went on a rampage. And now, raiders hit Shepherdstown. What was next?

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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