My mind raced for a moment trying to find a solution. I quickly turned to Mosby and asked, “Can you hold Townsend Road to the north and here in the middle?”
“I ‘spect we’ll have to,” he replied. “What cha gonna do?”
“I’m gonna go down tha farm lane back in tha woods that leads from Gapland Road and parallels tha Valley Pike and try to extract Capt’n Edwards’ and Capt’n Jameson’s companies.”
Mosby nodded and said, “Better get on with it.”
I gave him a quick salute, turned Stonewall toward the southeast and gave him a nudge with my knees. He exploded like a 12 pound round out of a brass cannon. I held on for dear life.
We rode up and over a small hillock as we cut diagonally southwest to the farm lane that ran south from Gapland Road and was hidden in the wood line next to the base of South Mountain. There was a small ridge line that hid our line of departure. Once we hit Gapland Road, the farm lane was visible. I pointed Stonewall toward it and we flew like the wind. This lane was what we had utilized when I directed Capt’n Edwards men south to their deployment site the night before, which seemed like a hundred years ago.
As we came to the end of the lane and the three cabins that we had encountered on the previous ride, I pulled Stonewall to a halt and walked him forward to the edge of the tree line. Looking out on the Valley Pike, I could see the Yank column out in front of me. At least two regiments of infantry were beginning to deploy into battle lines for an advance.
Looking southward about a quarter of a mile, I could see that Captain Edwards had wisely dismounted his forces and distributed them on a knoll alongside the Valley Pike. They had some good cover, but there was no way they could skirt the Yankee column to the west or the east without getting shot all to pieces.
I looked further south and saw a small village on the Valley Pike behind Edwards’ position. Something came to mind about that village, but I couldn’t pull it out of my memory. Then, it came to me like a rush. That had to be the hamlet of Brownsville. In my universe during the Civil War Time Period there was a Brownsville Gap. I just hoped it still existed.
I turned Stonewall to the south and we weaved in and out of trees through the woods that lay at the base of South Mountain. Since there was no farm lane to follow, it was slow going, but we were hidden from the Yanks on the Valley Pike. I just hoped I could get to Captain Edwards in time to get him out of the path of the juggernaut headed his way.