Civil War Transcendence, part 318

 

318_cavalry

The Yank troopers had been riding two abreast. The last two Yanks turned to see what was making all the noise when six colt slugs hit them. They fell from their mounts, which caused their horses to stampede into the rest of the column.

Our continuous firing and screaming resulted in pushing the enemy patrol about a hundred yards to the west. We unhorsed two more Yanks before the commander of the Yank patrol brought his men under control and got them into a battle line facing us.

At that point, we considered retreat the better part of valor. We turned tail and rode like the wind back to the cross road junction we started from.

It didn’t take long to reach our destination. We halted in the middle of the crossroad and were elated to see the head of our contingent galloping toward us.

I yelled at the top of my lungs, “Company front (face to the left), draw carbines and prepare to repel attack.”

I kept repeating the orders and pointing to the side road from which we had emerged.

Sergeant Billings got the idea that we had stirred up a hornets nest from our gunfire and my commands. He took over and quickly got the company into a battle line facing the supposed direction of an enemy attack. I have to say he did a great job in getting our bunch ready. I was just hoping the Yanks had fallen for our ruse and were following.

We were in luck. The Yanks came flying down the road four abreast and mad as wet hens.  Thanks to Sarge Billings, our boys were in battle line along Ballinger Creek Road facing to the northwest and the charging Yanks.

It took a few moments for the approaching Yanks to see our formation and understand they were being sucked into an ambush.  When Sarge Billings saw the Yank officer, who was leading their attack, throw up his arm and begin to slow down, he yelled fire.

Twenty carbines of our front rank erupted. It sounded as if one shot had been fired. The destruction was unimaginable.  The Yank officer and the first four Union troopers were blown from their saddles.  The resulting chaos was mindboggling.  The remaining portion of the Yank column dispersed into individual troopers trying to rein in their mounts and keep from riding into the backs of their comrades. It was like wasps flying out from a nest when it was struck.

At this juncture, I rode to the left end of our line, and pointing to the last four ranks, yelled at the top of my voice, “Follow me.”

I brought the men forward in formation, and turned them to face north. We fired into the Yank’s right flank. This cause even more panic, but it had the desired effect I wanted. The Yanks began to stream as a herd to the north, riding the gauntlet past our line of battle, heading toward Frederick.

I halted my requisitioned troopers and yelled for them to get back into line.

Hurrying to where Sarge Billings was stationed, I directed, “Get tha men in formation with five skirmishers in advance and follow those Yanks. They’ll take us to thar garrison.”

The Sarge looked at me as if I had lost my mind and uttered, “Ya want to fight tha Yank garrison?”

I retorted, “No! But I wanna spook ‘em a bit.” Then I grinned from ear to ear.

The Sarge just shook his head, and yelling commands to the troops, got the company ready to head north into Frederick.

I looked up and saw Zeke and Skeeter ride up from the front of the column.

“Where ya been?” I asked.

Zeke reported, “We got separated from ya when we got back to tha crossroads. We been up front shooting at tha Yanks.”

“Well, ya are gonna get a chance to do some more shooting. Let’s go!”

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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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