I watched the Yankee patrol ride into Mt. Briar. Devlin, the Yankee Captain posted two troopers and then rode north out of town.

I turned to Al, “What town does the road out of Mt. Briar heading north go to?”

“Keedysville,” he answered.

I nodded and turned back to observing the two Yank troopers in Mt. Briar. They seemed to have dismounted and set up a two man tent next to the junction of the Lower/Rohrbach Bridge Road and the Trego Road. I gave the telescope in turn to Tom and Al and had them view what the Yank troopers were doing.

I commented, “Well, that kills our movement east until after nightfall.”226 nightfall

They both nodded in acquiescence. We gingerly followed the tree line back the way we came until we were out of sight of Mt. Briar. Then we headed down to the road and let our horses drink from the cool creek that ran alongside the road. Tom had packed some jerky and hardtack that he shared and we let the horses graze on the little bit of grass that was available.

Once night had fully descended, we mounted up and went back to the eastern edge of the gap. I looked through the telescope at the town and, even though it was dark, I could see a fire at the Yankee camp with two standing figures warming themselves.

I turned and said, “We are going to walk across the plain in front of us using the creek to our right as a guide. Once we make it to the other side of the plain and hit the road through the Blue Ridge gap, we will mount up and ride south reconnoitering the road as far as we can before daylight. We have to find a suitable place to hide artillery and our force until we can ambush the Yanks.”

They both nodded in agreement.

We dismounted, took the reins of our horses and led them on the trek over the open ground. I was especially vigilant of any obstacles in our way and also how solid the ground was. The plain seemed to consist of soft dirt, which wasn’t good, but I bet the dirt was an accumulation of run off silt from the surrounding mountains. I just hoped it wasn’t too deep before cannon wheels encountered hard shell. And, Thank Heavens, there were no obstacles.

We made it to the road without any mishap and didn’t arouse the Yankee troopers at Mt. Briar. We quietly mounted and walked our horses through the gap into Pleasant Valley.

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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