I returned to consciousness by someone roughly shaking me. I opened my eyes but couldn’t focus on the face of my assailant. It was still dark. I heard a voice whisper, “Lieutenant, Major Mosby wants ya.”
I gathered my strength and unwrapped from the blanket in which I had mummified myself.
I looked at Stonewall. He just stared at me with that “better you than me” look. Then he closed his eyes and went back to his deep meditation.
I got up and followed the cavalryman to where Mosby was standing. His arms were crossed over his torso and he was staring at the moon, which had risen high in the cloudless sky. I expected him to begin baying any moment. The thought amused me, and I couldn’t stop a quick chuckle under my breath. This brought a quick gaze from the cavalryman. I kept walking and didn’t elaborate.
When we got to Mosby, the cavalryman saluted and left. Mosby returned his salute, turned toward me and murmured, “I been thinkin’ ‘bout what would happen if tha Yanks don’t buy tha surgeon’s story. The only thing I can see to do is to hit ‘em at their front. And then, take Captain Owens’ and Captain Greenley’s companies and hit ‘em in their left flank at the place where their artillery is located. Whatcha think?”
I looked at the ground, mulled it over for a moment, looked up at him and responded, “As long as we did it fast, we might have a chance of taking their artillery.”
Mosby looked up at Crampton’s Gap and admitted, “Yeah, that’s tha key. Well, let’s hope tha surgeon can sell ‘em a bill of goods. I’m gonna have Owens and Greenley ready, just in case we have to fight different from what we’ve planned.”
Suddenly he looked me straight in the eye and said in a low guttural voice, “I want cha with me at all times during this fight. If I go down, I’m trusting ya to take over and get tha job done. I’ve already told my couriers to take orders from you if anything happens to me.”
I looked at Mosby as if he had grown another two heads. I had been enjoying having a no stress mission for a change, but Mosby’s words hit me right in the chest. It was hard for me to breathe, and I immediately got a splitting headache.