We continued riding hard following the Chestnut Valley Road, expecting another contingent of Yanks to be blocking our way at each bend of the road. However, we didn’t run into another force in front of us, but we knew that there was definitely a troop of Yanks following us.
Because of Stonewall’s speed and stamina, I was able to put even with Al as we rode swiftly south. We relaxed a mite shoving the Colts we had in our left hands into our belts and taking our horse’s reins out of our mouths and holding them again in our left hands. We came to the Frog Hollow Road and had to slow down to make the turn to the right and head west to intersect the C&O Canal Path. Once on the new road we reined in the horses to a loping type gallop. After about quarter of a mile Al reined in his horse, and I followed suit.
We walked the horses for a while to let them catch their breath. Both of us were silent and grieving for Tom. Finally, Al in a determined voice said, “Jim, why don’t cha go on ahead? I’ll take care of tha blue bellies follerin’ us.”
I turned abruptly to look at him and lectured, “There’s been enough sacrificing done this day.”
Al spun his head my way and through gritted teeth hissed, “I ain’t thinking bout sacrificing. I’s thinking ‘bout pay back.”
I gazed at him for a moment and then uttered, “Me too. That bunch of bushwhackers ought to be here any moment. What cha got in mind?”
With an evil grin, Al retorted, “How ‘bout a little bushwhacking of our own?”
“Sounds good to me,” I responded. “We better find a good cross-fire position and find it quickly.”
“I know’s just the place,” Al countered. “Follow me.”
We cantered our horses forward, and in no time we came to a bend in the road that turned from westward to an almost southerly direction. On each side of the road were abandon shacks that would make for good cover.
Al pointed to the shack on the left of the road and ordered, “You take that un and (pointing to the shack on the right side of the road) I’s gonna take that un. Shoot as many Yanks as possible ‘cause we’s gonna be outnumbered mightily.”
I nodded an affirmation and rode Stonewall behind the shack. I tied him to a small sapling that had grown up near the shack’s backdoor and retrieved an extra Colt from my blanket roll. Then I entered the shack with a Colt in each hand and the third one in my belt. It didn’t take long before we heard the Yankee horde’s thundering hooves in the distance.