I have to hand it to the Yanks this time. They must have been laying for me, because as soon as I ran out the back door, three cavalrymen were waiting. They encircled me with drawn pistols. I slowly raised my hands.
Two dismounted while one kept the drop on me. I was disarmed of my two faithful Colts, which I longingly saw go into the belt of one of my captors.
“Okay, Hager, we got you now,” smirked the man still in the saddle.
I looked at him closely and saw that he had first sergeant stripes on his sleeve. I was taken aback that he knew who I was, and it must have registered on my face because he laughed.
“Yes, we know who you are, but you aren’t going to get away this time,” he prophesied.
I thought to myself, “Well, the jig is up. It was good while it lasted.”
The sergeant dismounted and we all entered the house. I could hear other Yankee cavalrymen in the parlor with Mrs. Douglas and Daphne. I caught just the last of Mrs. Douglas’ answer to a question that must have been posed by an interrogator.
“Yes, we know Mr. Hager. He has visited us before, but I don’t know of any affiliation with the Confederate cavalry. I do know he is a school teacher in Shepherdstown.”
This brought a laugh from the interrogator as we entered the room. He turned to me and, to my astonishment, it was the Yankee captain that had originally kidnapped Daphne on the River Road. My eyes went wide on recognition. The Yankee captain smiled and acknowledged, “Well, Mr. Hager, we meet again.” I was stunned into silence.
He strutted over to Daphne with a smile on his face and, stopping in front of her, said, “You won’t have any local heroes to rescue you this time.”
He then turned to his sergeant and ordered, “Go wake the stablehand and have their carriage made ready. These ladies are going for a little ride in the country.”
I immediately stepped forward and demanded, “Where are you taking them?”
The captain abruptly backhanded me, which brought me to my knees. I looked up at him with a cold resolve — if ever he came under the sights of my Colts, he would never live through the experience.