The Yankee Captain must have been expecting some type of move by the Corporal or else he gave him some signal to make a dash for it.
Anyway, a multitude of things happened at once.
Our horses were spooked by the wagon bolting forward. I tried to bring my Colt from behind my right leg to shoot the Corporal. When I did, the Yankee Captain kicked his horse and veered into me, which pushed Stonewall and me to the right. This created a small passage between us and the wagon.
The Captain slipped through and rode like a scared banshee toward Keedysville. He passed the lone trooper following the wagon like a bullet and didn’t linger to see what happened next.
I was caught completely off guard, but probably not as much as the trailing trooper. He watched in horror as the Captain flew past him.
I fired a pot shot at the fleeing Captain, but I didn’t hit him. My random shot plus the now disappearing Captain convinced the trooper that discretion was the better part of valor. He abruptly turned his horse and joined the Captain in a hasty retreat.
That left the wagon, the Corporal, Mr. Sage and Jeremy to deal with.
As I turned Stonewall back to see what was happening with the wagon, a shot rang out followed by two more shots. I kick Stonewall in the flanks, and as his hindquarters found purchase on the packed roadway, he leaped forward almost throwing me out of the saddle. I had to grab the front of the saddle with my left hand just to keep upright.
Thank heavens that the reins were tied together in a knot, because I had to drop them to hold on for dear life. Once I had gained equilibrium, I was able to reach forward and get the reins, which had fallen on Stonewall’s neck.
All this time I had held tightly to the Colt with my right hand. Finally, I looked up and saw the wagon headed for Boonsboro at a gallop with Mr. Sage in pursue.