“Do you know who the traitor is?” asked Major Mosby.

“Not really, but I have a suspicion as to who it is,” I conceded.

“Well, who do you believe it is?” probed the Major.

“Major, I don’t want to impinge a person’s reputation in your mind and be completely
wrong. All I have are just surmises, but, once we get back, I will formulate a plan that will trap whoever it is that had Sheriff Jed Wells assassinated, Mr. Black, the telegraph operator murdered, and an attempted liquidation of yours truly,” I vowed. “Major, what are our orders?”

“We are to ambush the Union Force proceeding from Boonsboro,” he informed me. “They will be headed to block Harpers Ferry and the C&O Canal from the east.”

“And after that?”

He grinned. “We are to cross South Mountain and join forces with Turner Ashby, whose 221 Fox's gapcavalry contingent will be crossing the Potomac at Point of Rocks in three days.”

“That’s cutting it kinda thin for us, isn’t it?” I rebutted.

“Maybe so, but those are out orders.”

I nodded and asked, “What do you want me to do?”

“I want you to take Sergeant Canes and Private Madigan and reconnoiter Pleasant Valley for the best place to hit the Yanks. They will be leaving tomorrow with the Infantry, cavalry and artillery plus their supply wagons from the Union camp north of Boonsboro.”

“Do we have any information as to which passes the Yanks occupy?” I asked.

“I know for sure they have Turners Gap and Fox’s Gap, but I don’t know if they have any others.”

“So they might not have Crampton’s Gap?”

The Major narrowed his gaze and looked at me with hooded eyes. Then he uttered, ”I don’t know if they have Crampton’s Gap or not, but after this campaign you and I are going to have a real hard talk about how you know all about the local geography.”

“I understand Major. By the way, can I get my horse back for this campaign?” I pleaded.

He let out a huff and yelled, “Corporal get the Lieutenant’s horse that he left when he rode north.”

“Yes, sir,” the Corporal replied and hurried off to get Stonewall from the picket line for me.

“Thank you, Sir,” I responded and saluted the Major. He returned the salute and I walked out of the tent.

As I came out of the tent Sergeant Canes and Private Madigan, who seemed to be waiting on me, came forward. The sergeant and private saluted, and I returned the salute. I then told them, “You don’t need to be doing a bunch of saluting and addressing me as Lieutenant. We got a big job to do. I am just plain Jim.” Then I offered my hand and each of them smiled and shook hands with me.

Just as we finished with the protocol, Major Mosby’s Corporal arrived with Stonewall, who gave a loud and vociferous whinny. I took his reins from the Corporal and thanked him. Stonewall walked up to me and allowed me to wrap my arms around his neck and give him a squeeze. He whinnied again and I laughed hardily.

My companions had a good laugh too. Then the Sergeant Canes declared, “I ain’t never seed a horse get so friendly with a human like that.”

“I’m mighty lucky, Sarge,” I declared. I inspected all of Stonewall’s gear. He was saddled and had a bedroll with the standard cavalry accoutrements. It all seemed to be in order.

“Well, I guess we better get a move on.” I sighed. “Lord, knows how all this is gonna go down.”

My companions had their cayuses nearby. So we mounted up and rode out of camp.

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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