I was roused from a comatose slumber by someone shaking me and bellowing, “Jim, wake up. Thar’s a message boy from Mosby here to see ya.”
I gradually came back to the land of the living and found I was still in my clothes, but my brogans had been removed and a blanket had been put over me to keep out the night chill. I sat up and was finally able to focus on the originator of this ungodly noise.
Hattie was standing in front of me with her hands on her hips and a big smile on her face. “Well, I see ya gotsa a few hours of rest, but thar’s no rest for the wicked,” she proclaimed.
“Where’s the courier and may I have a cup of coffee?” I replied.
“The messenger boy is in the dining room and I’ll get ya a cup of coffee,” she said.
I nodded, got up, pulled on my brogans and went to the water-filled basin on the room’s small table. I washed my hands and face and dried them on a towel that Hattie had supplied me. I ran my fingers through my hair and went to the dining room.
There was a Confederate Corporal sitting at the dining table. He got up when I approached him and asked, “Are you Jim Hager?”
“I am,” I replied.
The Corporal nodded and handed me a sealed envelope with my name on it and said, “This is from Major Mosby. I am supposed to wait for a reply.”
I walked to the end of the dining table, sat down and opened the private correspondence. Almost immediately, Hattie put a cup of coffee in front of me and nonchalantly looked over my shoulder. I looked up at her and said, “If you please, this is secret.”
She shrugged and asked, “You want some breakfast?”
“Yes, for me and the Corporal too, please.”
“Okay, if I gotta,” she answered with a longsuffering tone and began to fill two plates with victuals. I looked up and saw the Corporal’s face light up like a search light and he grinned from ear to ear.
I opened the envelope. In large official calligraphy was written:
Jim Hager of Shepherdstown, VA is hereby promoted to the rank of Lieutenant of Scouts and placed under the command of Major John S. Mosby. His official billeting will be with the 3rd Virginia Cavalry. By order of the Confederate War Department, Richmond Regional Headquarters.
Signed Major General Joseph E. Johnston.
I gasped and I uttered, “My Lord!”
Both Hattie and the Corporal looked at me in alarm. Hattie ventured, “You okay?”
“Not really.” I exclaimed.
I opened the envelope again and there was another paper in it. With much trepidation I extracted it and opened it tentatively.
It read: By order of Major John S. Mosby, Lieutenant Jim Hager is to report forthwith to headquarters of the 3rd Virginia Cavalry, CSA for orders.
Signed: Major John S. Mosby.