Civil War Transcendence, part 295


The Confederate cavalry contingent was bearing down on me like a steam roller out of control.  I waved my hands as we raced toward them and felt a .36 caliber slug go past my left ear for my efforts.

One of the leaders of the contingent started yelling, “Don’t shoot. Don’t shoot. It’s Jim.”

I was never so happy to see Al Madigan in my life. He brought the column to a halt in a cloud of dust.

I yelled, “Whatcha running from?”

“A whole herd of Yanks are on our tail,” he replied.

I turned Stonewall around, and heading south, I yelled, “Follow me.”

Our troop resumed their breakneck speed as Al rode up beside me and grinned.

“Wherah ya taking us?” he yelled.

“We’re headed south until we hit the Brownsville Road. Then we’re gonna have to hit another Yank cavalry unit in the rear and scurry up to Brownsville Gap,” I replied.

“Oh, is that all?” he sassed with his characteristic smile.

“How did ya fare with the Yanks?” I queried over the thunder of our contingent’s hooves.

“We surprised ‘em, but they regrouped and pushed us back with infantry support. When we heard the cannon shots, we disengaged and have been fighting a rear guard action ever since.”

“Did ya lose many men?”

“About ten.”

I nodded and kept us riding south. We finally came to the Brownsville Road intersection, and I directed the column due east and headed toward the town of Brownsville.

We traversed the one mile to the town in a jiffy. As we hit the high ground near Brownsville, I looked north. It was as I had hoped. The Yank Infantry had halted and were holding their position south of Gapland along the Valley Pike. The western Union cavalry flanking force was on our tail while some members of the eastern Union cavalry flanking force were after our forces under Mosby’s and Greenley’s commands.  A few members of the eastern Union flanking force had joined the forward Union cavalry scouts and were chasing Captain Edwards’ company up the mountain toward Brownsville Gap.

I pulled my pistol as we ran into the back of this Union vanguard and screamed at the top of my voice, “Get ‘em boys.”

Al and I began firing at every Yank that we could see while riding at breakneck speed up the mountain trail to the gap.

Our contingent and the Yank cavalry were in columns of twos.  We cut a path thru the Yank’s column splitting their troopers to either side of the mountain trace, shooting down many, and sending the rest riding to the left and right of the lane off into the woods.  In no time, we were about out of gas and our horses were huffing and puffing to simply walk.

I halted the column, and almost as one, we dismounted.  I looked back down the mountain road. Yankee wounded and dead lined the road, and mounted Yanks were trying to get back down the steep mountainside any way they could.  We took pity on them and didn’t shoot them, even though they were easy targets.

Suddenly, I heard a voice above me on the trace say, “Thanks Lieutenant. We thought we were going to have another fight on our hands, but ya took care of tha threat.”

I turned to see Captain Edwards standing in the middle of road with his hands on his hips and a satisfied smile on his face as he uttered, “Well, Lieutenant, where do we go from here?”



About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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