I sort of gaped at the Lieutenant. I have to admit that the Lieutenant was rather

handsome, and he had me beat in the looks department hands down. I finally gather myself and tried to display 19th Century manners. I turned to the ladies and taking off my hat, bowed and said, “Ladies.”

Having fulfilled my obligations, I turned back to the Gallant Pelham and articulated, “Lieutenant, I am Jim Hager and I have been sent by Major Mosby with some vital information that has to be sent to Confederate Headquarters immediately.”

The Lieutenant suddenly turned to Mrs. Douglas and Daphne and directed, “Ladies, if you will excuse us, we have business to address.”

Mrs. Douglas fixed me with a thoughtful look as she left the room, and Daphne looked at me with an awed expression as she left.

The Lieutenant closed the sliding doors to the parlor and extended a hand. “Mr. Hager, I am pleased to meet you. I have heard so much about your efforts in our cause.”213 telegraph

I have to admit I was taken aback by the Lieutenant’s expression of admiration. I blushed and stammered, “Yes. W-well. Anything for the Cause.”

He smiled and added, “You have a message from Major Mosby?”

I quickly recovered and informed him, “Yes, I was sent here by Major Mosby to telegraph a vital message to Confederate Headquarters. However, I understand that the telegraph is not usable, possibly due to Union forces having cut the line. I was wondering if you might have a rider or riders that could take it to Harpers Ferry and have it sent from there?”

The Lieutenant smiled and said, “I can do you one better than that. Our line is still open to Martinsburg. We can send the message to them and have them relay it to Winchester and up the Shenandoah Valley to Harrisonburg and then over to Richmond Headquarters.”

I felt as if a great burden had been taken off my shoulders. I broke into a smile from ear to ear and declared, “Lieutenant, you are definitely a life saver.”

With a great deal of pomp and ceremony I handed the message to the Lieutenant and implored, “Please take this message personally to Mr. Black in Shepherdstown and have him send it via the necessary telegraph relays to Richmond. If I may accompany you, I would appreciate it.”

He smiled and stated, “I would welcome your company, sir.”

The Lieutenant fetched his hat, and we left the parlor and started toward the main entrance. Daphne was standing at the entrance to the left parlor. I doffed my hat to her and she scolded, “Jim Hager, don’t just tip your hat to me.”

I acquiesced and went to her. She hugged me very unladylike, which brought a gasp from someone in the left parlor. Then she said, “Please take care of yourself.”

In my exhausted state I mumbled, “I will. I promise.”

Then the Lieutenant and I exited the mansion.


About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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