I didn’t think that the Yanks had infiltrated this far to the east yet, and the accent of the soldier who just accosted us sounded Southern. However, I didn’t realize that the Confederates had extended their lines across the Potomac and this far south from Sharpsburg.
I held up my hand to Mr. Sage and Jeremy to halt and, taking a chance they were Confederates, answered, “Jim Hager, Mr. Sage and Jeremy Sage with vital information for Major Mosby.”
“Advance,” ordered the sentry.
We walked our mounts forward, but the moon hadn’t risen yet and the night was pitch black. In fact we would have walked by the pickets, but one of them piped up and said, “We right herah Mr. Hager.”
I actually jumped, which brought a chuckle from the soldier. He came up to my left side and I bent down to look him in the eye. It was Sergeant Canes. I muttered, “Thank the lord it’s you Sergeant. Is Major Mosby in the area?”
“Yes Sah. He’s about two miles up the C&O path. He’s been a-lookin’ for you to come back nearly every day. I ‘spect you need to get up therah and see him as soon as possible. I’ll have a guide show ya tha way.”
“Thanks much, Sergeant. I really appreciate it.”
He turned and bellowed, “Private Henderson, escort these gentlemen to Major Mosby’s camp as quickly as possible and then return back herah.”
“Yes, Sergeant,” the Private acknowledged and, turning to us, said, “This way gentlemen.”
We began a slow lope north on the C&O pathway.
The Sages and I were exhausted, and since we were among friendlies, our adrenalin levels had declined. It was a fight just to keep from going to sleep in the saddle. It took us about an hour to make it to the Major’s camp. The Private took us directly to the Major’s tent and told the orderly that was on guard that Mr. Jim Hager had information for the Major. The orderly looked rather suspiciously at our conclave in fire light from an adjacent campfire, but we heard, “Let them in, Corporal,” from the bowels of the darkened tent.
“Yes Sah,” the Corporal obeyed and opened a flap of the tent for us to enter.
The Major must have been sleeping in his trousers and shirt because he was sitting on his cot and putting on his boots when we passed into the tent. “Well, I been expecting you for two days. What took you so long?” He barked.