It was about noon before we left. The Corporal and I crossed the Potomac just a little ways south of Hattie’s Place and proceeded on the C&O pathway toward Mosby’s Camp.
I don’t believe I have ever been happier to arrive in the Confederate picket line and know I was about to get Stonewall back any other time in my life. Riding Goliath was like trying to direct a stubborn bulldozer.
After the Corporal gave the password, we were passed through and headed for the main contingent of the cavalry. Once we arrived in the camp, we went straightway to Mosby’s tent. I dismounted, and the sentry in front of Mosby’s tent must have recognized me because he pulled back a flap of the tent and announced my arrival.
I immediately entered the tent and found Mosby with a small group of junior officers looking at a map on his table. Mosby looked up and grinned, “Well, I understand you had a heck of a time getting that message out to Richmond.”
“Yes, Sir.” I replied and saluted.
He returned my salute and added, “We just got orders from Richmond. I have just been going over our plans with the Captains of the five companies that have been assigned to me. I am about finished so I will go over the plans with you and hear your report after we are finished.”
I nodded and Mosby turned back to his officers. His last bit of requirements were terse and to the point. They were the tactics that the Mosby of my Universe always employed.
“I want all sabers to be left here in camp and for each man to carry four loaded pistols with four extra loaded cylinders for quick loads. Also each man is to carry a carbine with twenty cartridges in his ammo box and a full cap box. We will be moving rapidly and won’t be accompanied by ammunition or food wagons.”
I could see the eyes of the Captains suddenly open wide with the last bit of information. I had to grin at their first time of being under the command of such an unconventional and knowledgeable officer as Mosby. When it came to a cavalry blitzkrieg, Mosby and Bedford Forrest were the best and neither used sabers in an attack.
Mosby ended the conference with, “Have your troopers draw the necessary ammo and food from the quartermaster. Be ready to ride in two hours. That is all gentlemen.”
The Captains automatically saluted and exited the tent in stunned silence.
After they had gone Mosby turned to me and queried, “Well, what have you got for me, Jim?”
I sighed and reported, “Nothing good, I’m afraid. In Shepherdstown I found the telegraph wrecked and the telegraph operator murdered. We have a traitor in our midst.”