By the time I had recovered from the jolt of almost being thrown from the saddle, Stonewall was running full out for the wagon. I looked up and saw that Mr. Sage had almost caught up with the wagon. The Corporal was slumped over in the seat, and the wagon team was driverless. I could also see that Jeremy was being bounced around like a ping pong ball in the bed of the wagon.
Mr. Sage rode up on the right side of the team and grabbed the reins of the team horse and started to pull the team to a halt. By the time I got to the wagon, Mr. Sage had the team under control. I jumped off Stonewall and mounted the wagon.
The Corporal had fallen down between the seat and the bed of the wagon. He was dead from two bullets in the back. Mr. Sage dismounted and walked the wagon team to the side of the road and tied their reins to a fence post. He climbed into the bed of the wagon, cut the ropes that tied Jeremy’s hands behind his back and asked Jeremy, “Are ya all right?”
Jeremy stood up and stretched. Then taking inventory of his body he rejoined, “Just some bruises, I guess.”
I stated, “We better get out of here and in a hurry. That Yankee garrison in Boonsboro must have heard the shots and will be here in no time. What do you want to do with the wagon?”
Mr. Sage looked at me with a questioning expression and asked, “Didna you have a plan for tha wagon when we dun set out?”
I smiled and quipped, “I really didn’t think we would get this far.”
He laughed and said, “I guess tha plan twas a long shot. I ‘spect we betta leave the wagon and hightail it for Shepherdstown. In fact, we gonna have to abandon our farm. It’ll be swarming with Yanks before long.”
“Well, let’s get Jeremy mounted on the Corporal’s horse and make for the Potomac.”
Jeremy jumped down out of the wagon and untied the horse that was tied to the back of the wagon. He mounted, and we took off to the southwest, away from the main road from Boonsboro and Sharpsburg, and galloped south of Keedysville.
Daylight was fast fading when we hit the Porterstown Road and using Mr. Sage’s knowledge of back roads made our way south toward the C&O Canal pathway. When the sun was totally set, we walked the horses letting them catch their wind, plus it kept them from stepping in a pothole at a full gallop and breaking a leg.
We were able to find a junction with the Harpers Ferry Road, cross Antietam Creek and get on the C&O Pathway. We thought we had evaded the Yanks until we heard, “Halt, who goes therah?”