I thought for a long moment and then hesitantly answered, “Well, the Yankee column is going to be at least three-fourths of a mile long. If we wait until they are completely through Gapland, they will be too far south for us to hit them successfully from the rear, front, and the flanks. The middle of their column needs to be where Gapland is located for our plan to attack to work. Also, if we take the town, we will have to corral all the inhabitants in a central location and the Yanks will smell a rat when they enter the town and see no towns’ people milling around.”
Mosby mulled this over for a few minutes. I looked at Al and he just shrugged.
Out of the blue I had a thought and asked, “Major, do we have a black flag?”
He looked at me for a long time trying to ascertain the basis of my question. Then he grinned, which turned to a broad smile and finally, he laughed out loud.
“Lieutenant,” he replied, “I do believe we can find one or make one out of some cotton material. But we will have to have someone direct them where we want them to go.”
“Sir, I suggest that our surgeon get into some civilian garb and be the one to direct them east of the Valley Road so they will skirt Gapland and be closer to our company that will hit them from the Townsend Road area.”
“Sergeant!” Mosby bellowed. His sergeant appeared miraculously by his side.
“Have Captain Reynolds come forward.” The sergeant saluted and rode off to find the surgeon.
“Well, what will we do with the town?” Mosby queried.
I thought for a moment, took off my hat and scratching my head replied, “How about we still hide our company that is to attack the Yanks’ western flank to the west of Gapland. Then once the Yanks have been detoured and the middle of their column is directly east of Gapland, our western most company can gallop from their hiding spot and ride through the town from west to east and hit the Yanks’ flank. The town will not be the scene of our skirmish. Our easternmost company can then hit their east flank and we will have them in a cross fire. Our two blocking forces can provide the coup de grace by hitting them in the front and rear.”
The Major looked toward me for a short time and then closed his eyes. I knew he was going through all the bad scenarios that could erupt from this plan and what we could do to counter them.
Suddenly, he looked our way and said, “It all depends on how well Captain Reynolds can convince them Black Plague has broken out in Gapland, doesn’t it?”
Al finally got the central idea and uttered, “Aha!” I just nodded at the Major.
Civil War Real Fact:
Colonel John Brown Gordon was shot five times at the Battle of Antietam/Sharpsburg and survived to become a Major General in the Confederate Army.