Civil War Transcendence, part 160

I wandered back to Hattie’s place and, after giving her my watch and asking her to wake me at 4:00 pm, I took off my coat and fell into bed. I passed out. I must have been in a coma, because I don’t believe a battery of cannons could have awakened me. Hattie had to apply a wet rag on my face just to get me to open my eyes at 4:00 pm. She also provided a cup of coffee for me to guzzle to get my heart started.

Reluctantly, I got dressed and went to see Captain Mosby. It didn’t take long for me to find the cavalry camp. It was on our side of town and I was quickly admitted to the captain’s tent.

He was busy writing reports, but once I was ushered into his presence, he stopped and asked me to sit in a camp chair across from him. He looked at the floor of the tent for a few moments and seemed to be gathering his thoughts. Then he finally looked up at me and, fixing me with a piercing gaze, asked, “Are you really from Arkansas?”

The question hit me right between the eyes. I stammered, “Well, yes, I am.”

Lieut. James B. Neill, 153rd NY Volunteers from Expert Infantry on flickr

Lieut. James B. Neill, 153rd NY Volunteers from Expert Infantry on flickr

Then he said, “I don’t doubt your loyalty to the Confederacy and to our community. God knows that no one could have provided more service than you have in just a matter of days, but your explanation of how you arrived here is dubious at best. I have made inquiries of some Baltimore merchants that are secretly loyal to our cause, and they have never heard of you or of a school for rich merchants’ children that you espouse to have conducted. Again, this is difficult to believe because of what you have accomplished with the children of this area. No one has been able to command the respect and cooperation from the students as you have, so you must have been a teacher sometime in your life. You also don’t want to take on the job of town marshal, but you helped garner the forces to defend the town against raiders on one occasion. After I met and talked with the Maryland locksmen, they credited you with blowing up a keg of powder the Yank cavalry was going to use to destroy the Shepherdstown bridge. You captured five Yanks by yourself, plus led a gaggle of townsfolk that killed three other Yanks. This is in addition to rescuing Widow Throckmorton’s family twice, which resulted in the elimination of two of the most unsavory characters this area has ever produced. Now I must ask you, ‘Who are you?’”

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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