I followed Mosby’s gaze around the circle of Officers. They all looked ashen faced, as if all the blood had rushed out of their heads.
Mosby let the information sink in, and then he continued, “Y’all have to keep ya horses on a short leash. Ya might wanna loosen their saddles once ya get ta your designated positions, but ya better have ‘em cinched back up and ready ta go by sunrise, because we don’t know when tha Yanks will arrive into our snare.”
“Tha most important thing y’all have ta do is keep tha horses quiet. That is paramount ta our plan. We can’t be detected before we hit tha Yankee column. Now I wantcha to check all your troopers ta make sure they got four pistols and a carbine with 40 rounds. If’n they don’t, have ‘em draw tha necessary ammunition from out th’ supply wagon now before we ride out. Are there any questions?”
The company commanders looked at each other and finally Captain Jameson spoke up, “Sir, when should we break off contact with tha Yanks and ride up tha hill to Crampton’s Gap?”
Mosby replied, “That’s a good question Captain. I want all units ta break off tha fight when they hear cannon fire and ride for one of the roads leading up to Crampton’s Gap. We’ll all redeploy on toppa South Mountain ta repel any Yankee force that might follow us.”
Mosby paused for a moment and looked down at the sketch he had made in the dirt. The Officers followed his gaze. When he looked up, everyone was drawn to him. You could actually feel power emanating from the man.
In a low guttural voice through clinched teeth he declared, “We ‘re gonna hit their column with everything we got and take tha fight to tha Yanks on their home soil for a change. They’re gonna feel the wrath of our vengeance for what they have gone to our homeland, Virginia. I wantcha all to take that message to your troops and let em know they’re tha Legion of Retribution that will show the Yanks they can’t abuse our citizens and remain unpunished.”
Mosby seemed to imbue us with more energy and definiteness of purpose. I saw men stand straighter with chests that swelled with patriotism and purpose.
Mosby viewed the group again and then ordered, “Give your men some rest. We will be moving out in about 2 hours. Dismissed!”