I rode down to the Potomac Bridge and was stopped by the Confederate pickets. Thank heavens the Sergeant of the Guard knew me and let me pass. He yelled at me as I rode across the bridge, “I thought you were shot and would be convalescing.”
“I was, and I did,” I yelled back. He just shrugged and went back to his post.
I rode into Major Mosby’s camp and found out he was on patrol across the Potomac in Maryland. I left word that I would be at Hattie’s place. As I left, I got some particular stares from the troopers. Apparently, news had gotten back to them that I was wounded and would be out of circulation for a while, but no one asked me any questions. I guess the information that I was a Confederate agent spooked them (ha ha).
I was feeling great and wanted to get back to some of Hattie’s cooking, so I rode the horse hard back to my rented abode. As I galloped the horse into the yard, Hattie came out of the house and howled in amazement, “Land O’ Goshen! Whatcha ya doing outta bed?”
“I got tired of just laying around and thought I would come home,” I yelled back.
“Well, get down off’en your horse and have some victuals. I just was putting ’em on the table for Poppa and the brothers. They ortta be herah any minute.”
I nodded, took the horse to the barn, unsaddled him, and entered the house.
Before I was allowed to sit down at the dining table, Hattie said, “We have some business to discuss.”
I raised my eyebrows and said in a weary voice, “Okay. What business?”
“There’s a little matter of rent money,” she reminded me.
“Oh, yeah,” I agreed and dug into my pocket. I pulled out a thin wad of $100 bills, and both Hattie and I gasped. I counted out five $100 dollars bills. They weren’t Confederate bills, but U.S. currency. We both looked stunned. We looked at each other and I said, “Mosby.” She smiled and nodded in acquiescence.
I gave her a $100 dollar bill and said, “That ought to do for the next 10 months.”
She took the bill gingerly and looked at me in shock. Even though it was paper money, I guess it was the most money she had ever held in one hand in her life. She gulped and said, “That’ll do nicely. Take a seat.”
I sat down and she passed me fried pork chops, roasted potatoes, corn on the cob, biscuits and gravy, and fresh turnip greens. I ate like a starved homeless person. I sat back and relished the meal with a cup of coffee.
Just then I heard Poppa and the boys arrive in two separate wagons.
A.B. burst into the house and, seeing me seated at the table taking my leisure, said in an accusatory voice, “Major Mosby just got back from patrol and told me to tell ya to get to his camp. He wants to see ya, right now.”
I sighed deeply and muttered, “Now what?”