Tom and I followed Al at an easy lope for about 200 yards, and then we turned north on what I understood was the Mills Road. It had been about 2:00PM when we left camp. It was about 3:00PM, which meant we had 3 more hours of daylight.
We loped the horses about a mile and then walked them for a while. I turned to Al and asked, “How much further ‘til we hit the Lower Bridge Road?”
“Bout a mile,” he answered.
I queried, “Is the Lower Bridge Road sometimes referred to as the Rohrbach Bridge
He jerked his head in my direction. “How ja know that?” he demanded.
I just smiled and added, “I know my geography.”
He eyed me for a moment and then shrugged.
I continued, “If we run into some Yanks, I believe it will be when we hit the Rohrbach Bridge Road. Is there a way to not follow the Mills Road to the junction, but strike across country to the east of the junction?”
Al smiled and said, “Jim, ya musta read my mind. That’s what I was gonna suggest. We’ll do that very thing and see if thar is any sign of a Yank patrol.”
I smiled back and was becoming more trusting of Al by the mile. As I dropped back behind Al, Tom grinned at me and whispered, “He’s good. That’s why I recommended him to the Major for this here little scouting mission.”
When we got close to the junction of the two roads, we veered to the east, approached the Rohrbach Road about a quarter of mile to the east of the junction and stopped to rest our horses. All we heard were birds, insects and an occasional rustling of some creature, whose space we had invaded. After about 15 minutes we moved out on the road and in about 30 minutes passed through a gap in the steep hills Al had mentioned that were just to the west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We broke out of the mountain pass and stopped. So far the roads we traversed would support artillery without any problem.
In front of us stretching out to the east was an open plain and beyond that the gap in the Blue Ridge sat facing us.
Al pointed out, “The road we are on continues northeast fo about a half a mile then swings due east into tha Trego Road at the hamlet of Mount Briar. We turn south on tha Trego Road which’ll take us thru the Blue Ridge Gap and then run down the west side of the Pleasant Valley. Trego Road will pass Rohersville, a large hamlet on the Valley Road to the west. The people of Rohersville can’t see us because of some small hills twixed Trego Road and the Valley Road. Howsome ever, we will have to go thru Rohersville Station, a small hamlet on Trego Road. Once thru Rohersville Station, the road veers southeast and merges into the Pleasant Valley Road for about a quarter of a mile before Townsend Road goes off to the left and up to Crampton’s Gap. If’n we stay on the Valley Road for another quarter mile, Kaetzell goes off to the right and we can parallel the Valley Road to the west and be hidden again by some hills from view from the Valley Road.”
I surveyed the country side in front of me. I pondered, “How are we gonna get all our force across this open plain and down the valley into an ambush position without anybody telling the Yanks we are here?”