We galloped for just a quarter of a mile, and then Mosby raised his hand and brought our cavalcade to a fast walk. I happened to turn and look back at our column just in time to see Al direct Captain Jameson’s Company off to the west along a very narrow lane for their deployment to the west of Gapland.
Jameson’s Company was the third in the line of march. We continued walking until the fourth company could close up their interval with the rest of the column. As if by some sixth sense, when the last company had joined the column, Mosby raised his arm, kicked his horse and we began to lope down Pleasant Valley Road again.
In just a matter of minutes, we came to the first road that turned east and headed up to Crampton’s Gap. Mosby turned to the left onto this road, and we proceeded east for about a quarter of a mile. Mosby raised his arm and brought the column to a walk and then turned to our right, which was south. We proceeded until we were behind some hills and hidden from the Valley Road. He stopped and pointed at a courtier. The courtier rode off and in a few minutes returned with Captains Greenley, Owens and Edwards.
Major Mosby dismounted and the Captains followed suit. Mosby motioned for all the Captains to gather around him. He then pointed to Captain Greenley and whispered urgently, “You will take your men to the left of the hills in front of us and dismount. I will give you further instructions later.”
He pointed to Captain Owens and in a low voice ordered, “You will deploy your men here behind this small ridgeline. Remember what I said about not unsaddling your horses. Just loosen their cinch straps.”
Next he looked at Captain Edwards and continued, “Lieutenant Hager will direct you further south to your position in a few minutes.”
My eyes bugged open and I had to keep from uttering a choking exclamation. I wasn’t expecting this.
Mosby took off his hat, bowed his head and looked at the ground. After about 15 seconds when he lifted his face, there was an almost righteous glow about him that radiated a warrior’s courage and fearlessness. He took the time to look each of us in the eye. And as he did so, he seemed to infuse each of us with these intrepid qualities.
In a stern low voice he uttered, “We have a chance tomorra’ ta really bestow a demoralizing defeat on our enemy. I know y’all will do tha best ya can. Just remember if things go wrong, think how ta rectify tha situation and react ta tha first thought that comes into yar mind. Keep yar men and horses quiet at all times. No talking at all. We have some time for rest tonight. So take advantage of it. Tomorrow I will order Captain Owens and Captain Greenley to attack. When ya hear tha firing, Captain Edwards, ride north and hit the advance Yankee guard. Remember when ya hear tha cannon fire tomorrow break off and get up ta Crampton’s Gap as quickly as possible. That’s all I gotta say. Good luck and good hunting.”
We all saluted and I turned to Captain Edwards, whose company was second in line of march. He looked at me, and I gulped. I really hadn’t expected to be the guide for deployment of his southern blocking force.