I looked down the mountain and saw the Yank flankers that had been following Al’s contingent entering Brownsville from the west. They would be coming up the mountain to get us in no time.
“Capt’n Edwards,” I wheezed, “bring your men downward, just below the top of the mountain, and deploy them in a battle line on both sides of the road. We ain’t out of the woods yet.”
Edwards turned and began running up the slope as fast as his stubbly legs would permit to get his men in formation.
I got to my feet and yelled, “Men, get up and get your horses to the top of the mountain as quick as possible!” Pointing to the approaching Yanks, I shouted, “We got company.”
The men staggered up and began walking their mounts up the steep incline as quickly as their exhausted legs and the winded mounts would allow.
I looked at Al and asked, “Can you take Stonewall to the top for me?”
He grinned, took Stonewall’s reins from me and started up the mountain. Stonewall looked back at me and gave one of his famous whinnies.
I just yelled, “Go!” He acquiesced and let Al lead him to safety.
I walked up the slope until I came to where Captain Edwards’ men were being deployed. I waited until the last man from Al’s men had filtered past us and then ordered, ”Okay Capt’n Edwards, let’s move our battle line down slope about another 30 yards and halt them with every trooper hiding behind a tree. Don’t fire until I give the word.”
He nodded and moved his line of battle down the hill.
I turned and moved as fast as my legs would tolerate to the top of the hill and yelled, “Al, get men to hold the horse and give me twenty men with carbines as fast as possible.”
He nodded and gave the orders.
Men started coming toward me with carbines in hand. I didn’t try to put them in formation. I just ordered, “Follow me.” We moved like a gaggle toward where the road actually tops the mountain. I took the men about 20 feet down the slope they had just traversed.
I ordered, “Stop!” They halted and then I ordered, “Ten of you get in a line kneeling and facing down the hill. The other ten men stand up behind them in a second rank. Quickly!”
The men hustled to comply.
Once they were in place, I said, “When I give the word, I want the kneeling rank to fire only down the road and reload. When I give the standing rank the order to fire, I want ya to fire only down the road and reload. Ya got it?”
Some of them nodded and the rest acknowledged they understood.
The Yanks had picked their way through the town and were starting up the mountain. There must have been at least seventy-five of them, and they were coming with murder in their hearts for ambushing them.
I took a deep breath and prayed, “Please let my plan of battle work.”
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