“Al”, I said in a choked voice, “I think I just did see a haint.”
Al held my gaze for a long moment with that stare that says, “I wonder if this man has gone crazy again?”
Then he quizzed me, “Well, I don’t rightly know what ta tell ya. What cha gonna do?”
I replied, “Forget what I just said. I must be getting jumpy from this here job.”
A look of relief came over Al’s face and he must have thought I had regained my lucidity, but I was still very disconcerted with this new bit of history that was totally different from my universe.
I stepped forward and addressed Quantrill, “I don’t reckon you heard, but Captain Mosby is now Major Mosby.”
Quantrill raised his eyebrows and muttered, “Well, glory be. John done gone and got promoted.”
I ignored his replies and retorted in an aggravated voice, “Don’t tell me y’all gonna try to hold this pass with five men.”
In a righteous voice Quantrill snapped, “Of course not, Lieutenant! More of my men will be a-joinin’ us during tha night. We should have ‘bout sixty ta ninety men by morning.” In a braggartly manner, he added, “Ya can tell tha Major we’s gots tha Gap covered.”
I just nodded in exasperation. “Okay, I‘ll tell him,” I countered.
I had gotten off to a bad start with Quantrill, but the man just rubbed me the wrong way. To try to make up for my inhospitable manner, I added, “See y’all tomorrow.”
Quantrill just produced a toothy grin and turned back toward the camp.
Al and I mounted and gingerly walked our horses down the western face of South Mountain in near impenetrable darkness. As we hit the lowlands, the moon came out and provided us with enough light to find our way to the Pleasant Valley Road. Once there, we kicked the horses into a lope and turned north heading back to Rohersville Station. It was no time until we saw the left fork that was Trego Road. We veered onto this ancillary road and headed toward the captured Maryland town and Mosby’s temporary headquarters.
Once on the new road, we walked the horses to let them catch their wind. After about 20 minutes, we were accosted by our pickets.
“Halt! Who goes there?”
“Lieutenant Hager and Sergeant Madigan,” I replied.
“What’s tha password?” was the response.
I was struck dumb. We had left camp before a password was issued. I didn’t know how or what to answer.