I intoned quietly, “What would ya say to tha Yanks to get them to detour their column to the east of Gapland?”
The Lieutenant looked at me and softly said, “First, I would have a person with a black flag stationed a good ways north of Gapland and also South of Gapland.”
“Second, I would personally ride up to the north end of town just as the Yank column came within view of the place we will be stationing our flag. I will declare that the city had been put in quarantine and ask to speak with the Yankee surgeon.”
“We will need to keep any town folks from coming north or going south from Gapland during this time period. I believe we can do this with a minimum amount of men for the time period we will need to divert the Yank column.”
“I have personally worked in a small Delaware town that had to be quarantined due to cholera when I was in medical practice in the southern Delaware area. I know it has been done before. I can talk the medical talk that will convince a surgeon of the need for them to avoid the town.”
“Third, when the head of the Yankee column gets parallel to the south part of town, they will see the other black flag station and won’t doubt the truth of the quarantine.”
The Lieutenant had some really good points that in the haste of our plan formation we hadn’t considered.
Mosby looked down at the ground for a long moment. Then looked up and candidly stated in a low voice, “I guess we really shoulda taken Gapland hostage, but it’s too late now to do that. Also, we’re gonna have a hard time keeping tha town bottled up from tha time tha Yank column approaches Gapland ‘til they get to tha south end of town. I’m a-hoping that th’ artillery are in tha middle of their column, which will put ‘em just in tha right position for us to cut their column in two and take their cannon. That way their column will just barely reach the south end of Gapland.”
“I guess we can put some men in hiding to tha north side of town to keep tha town folks from venturing north…and the same for the south end of town. I will get with Captain Greenley to provide those men.”
Mosby suddenly looked at the Lieutenant and asked, “By tha way, what are ya gonna tell them was tha source of tha cholera?”
The Lieutenant with an amused expression softly informed us, “I’m going to tell them a bunch of Confederate bushwhackers pitched manure down the wells to the west side of town probably about five days ago. The wells to the east side of town weren’t affected. I’m also going to tell them that I just happened to be visiting a friend in Gapland when the first cholera victim became ill yesterday.”
“Ya think tha Yanks will go for it?” Mosby queried.
“I believe so Major,” was the Lieutenant’s hushed reply.
Mosby gently promised, “Okay, Lieutenant, I’ll getcha some men to use for our ruse.” He turned to one of his ever-present couriers and in a subdued voice ordered, “Go get Captain Greenley and have him report to me.”
The courier saluted and walked toward the camp of Greenley’s men.
Mosby walked off by himself. I didn’t follow. I knew he had a lot to think over.