Captain Greenley had followed my orders explicitly. A Lieutenant was leading the 20 man cavalry unit that had come to our rescue. As our relief column rode up the knoll to the skirmish sights, they were in awe. The Yankee prisoners were carrying their dead and wounded to the second building porch.
The Lieutenant rode up to me, saluted and voiced, “Lieutenant Hawthorn reporting as ordered.”
I saluted back and requested, “Lieutenant, please have ten of your men transport the weapons and ammunition we have confiscated to our lone supply wagon in the column. I am going to ask you and ten more of your men to stay with the Union prisoners and have them bury their dead. Then, send them east on foot. As soon as they have started their trek and are out of sight, join our column. Also, have your men bury our one dead soldier and provide Captain Greenley with his name and rank when you join us.”
The Lieutenant saluted and rejoined, “Yes, Sir.”
Our remaining nine men gave the Lieutenant’s men the weapons we had confiscated and mounted their horses.
I turned to Al and queried, “Ready to ride?” He just grinned and nodded.
I shouted, “Form Company.” Our nine men and the weapons-laden ten men from Lieutenant Hawthorn’s contingent fell into a column of twos.
I ordered, “Forward March,” and trotted west to rejoin the main column.
It didn’t take any time at all until we arrived at the head of the column. Major Mosby had maintained a decent pace. They were about a mile from where the Mills Road dead ended into the Lower Bridge Road. I reported to him about the results of the skirmish.
He had one question, “Do you think the Yanks you released will ruin our surprise for the Yanks coming out of Boonsboro?”
“I don’t think so Major.” I answered. “They will have to walk about two miles south before they can turn west and get on the north/south road on the other side of the hills to our right. Then they will have to walk another mile or so to the small Yank camp we fought through when we came over the Blue Ridge Mountains. I don’t believe they will cause a fuss at all.”
The Major looked at me for a long moment and replied, “I certainly hope not, Lieutenant.”
I gulped and understood that if we were foiled in our enterprise by the Yanks I released, I was in a world of hurt. I saluted and we rode toward Captain Greenley at the front of the column.
Once we joined Captain Greenley, the men from Lieutenant Hawthorn’s contingent joined Greenley’s company. The men that Al and I had led during the skirmish stayed with us as a sort of body guards. I asked Captain Greenley to pick ten men and to follow Al, me and our nine men up the road.
We loped our horses toward the next possible confrontation with Yanks. I was already having second thoughts about the plan I had convinced Major Mosby to adopt. Sweating profusely, we approached the critical road junction.