In a jiffy, Captain Greenley and his second in command, who was a Lieutenant, plus Captain Owen and his second in command, who was First Sergeant Walker, walked up to Major Mosby and saluted. Mosby returned their salutes.
He nodded at two courtiers who bracketed Captain Owen. Mosby faced Captain Owen and said, “I won’t tolerate any traitorous act that might jeopardize the success of this mission. Captain Owen, you are relieved of command and subject to court martial. Sergeant Flannigan, you will assume command of your company.”
The thunderbolt Mosby unleashed hit all of us out of the blue, especially Captain Owen, who started to speak, but was summarily told by Mosby to remain quiet.
He turned to his courtiers and murmured, “Take Captain Owen into custody, tie and gag him, and remain with him until ya receive further orders from me or Lt. Hager.”
Immediately, the courtiers went to work. They relieved the Captain of his side arm, gagged him and tied him up. One of them took him further into the tree line and sat him down with his back against a big oak. His gaze swept each and every one of us. When his eyes rested on me, they gleamed with hate and fury. I just looked back at him without a stupefied stare.
Mosby whispered, “Gentleman?”
We all turned to look at him with questioning expressions on our faces, but he held up his hand and explained, “When one of my courtiers couldn’t find Captain Owen for a brief meeting, I went to his company and (pointing to the First Sergeant) asked the First Sergeant Walker where he was. Tha sergeant said he had left without explanation and walked north toward tha pond. I don’t know the reason, but I had a bad feelin ‘bout it. So I had a courtier trail him. Tha courtier is a good woodsman and wasn’t detected when he saw Captain Owen give Hawks a paper. Captain Owens returned to camp.
Mosby turned to me and continued, “Tha message that was passed was on tha man that yar horse so adroitly executed. You must have just missed Captain Owen’s return. Hawks saw ya coming and must of reacted when he recognized ya.”
“My courtier was just reporting the clandestine meeting he had witnessed, when ya reported tha dead man by the pond. I sent my courtier to investigate.”
“Lieutenant, ya forgot to search Hawks thoroughly. My courtier came back with Hawks’ body and tha message. He told me that Hawks was tha man Captain Owen had met with. I realized that tha Black Flag idea was a bust because tha Yanks were already expecting us to do something.”
Turning to look at Owen, Mosby continued, “Owen must have been slipping messages to the Yanks all along.”
I was red in the face from my lack of thorough search of Hawks. I stared at Mosby in awe and finally asked, “When did ya pull tha Black Flag bunch back in?”
“Before we went on our ride to view tha Yankee column,” Mosby answered.
“Whatcha gonna do?” I queried.
“Don’t know yet. Come walk with me for a ways and let’s discuss it.” Mosby turned and looking at the rest of the assembly said, “Gentlemen, y’all may return to yar commands.”
The officers were so shocked that they forgot to salute, but just kept gawking first at Owen and then back to Mosby in a repetitious movement.