Sergeant Billings had the troop in a two men abreast formation and the advance skirmishers out in front of our contingent in no time.
I yelled, “Forward at the gallop,” and we moved out.
As I rode by Sarge Billings, who was at the head of the troop, I shouted, “Yar in command. I’m going forward to see what we are up against.”
He waved that he understood.
Zeke and Skeeter were following me as we galloped north toward Frederick. I put Stonewall back into a lope when we got right behind the advance skirmishers. We must have gone about a mile and a half, when the skirmishers brought their cayuses to a halt at a crossroads.
I rode up to them and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“We don’t know which way the Yanks went,” answered a corporal.
I let my gaze scan from west to north to east. Once I looked east, I could see just an inkling of dust above a tree line on the road that had crossed our main pike and headed east. I turned to the corporal and ordered, “We will go east. Leave a man here to direct tha main body to follow us.”
He saluted, ordered a trooper to stay to give directions and took the rest of the skirmishers to the east at the gallop. Zeke, Skeeter and I followed close behind.
We hurried toward, what I hoped was the Yank cavalry troop. We had proceeded about a mile, when the skirmishers came to a halt and rode off the road into a tree line. I rode up to them and the corporal pointed to where the road we were on crossed a larger pike that ran north to south. The Yank cavalry troop we had been following was crossing the pike and still headed eastward. I had guessed right that the Yank garrison was to the east of Frederick, but I had thought they would be located to the northeast. If the garrison was due east, we had a better chance of escape after our coming attack.
I motioned Zeke to come to my side. Once he was in positioned to my right, I pointed toward the pike and asked, “What’s that road?”
He immediately said, “It’s tha Design Road.”
“Where does it lead to the sowth?’ I asked.
“It goes down south to the other side of Adamstown,” he responded.
“Is there another road east of tha Design Road that goes south?” I queried.
“There’s the Buckeystown Pike. It goes down sowth and stays east of the Design Road,” he informed me.
I thought for a moment and said out loud, “I betcha the Yank garrison is somewhere in the vicinity of the Buckeystown Pike.” Then turning to the corporal, I ordered, “I need ya to take one man and scout from here to the south a ways and then go east. I want ya to find the Yank garrison and, once ya do, high tail it back herah to me.”
The corporal said, “Yes sir,” and, pointing to one his three men, began to weave into the woods to our south as per my orders.
I turned to the last two of the skirmishers and directed, “Go back to the main body and have them come here as quickly as possible.” They immediately turned and rode back the way we came.
I looked at Zeke and he was the epitome of claim. I turned to Skeeter. He had me under intensely scrutiny. I smiled at him and asked, “Ya got any questions Skeeter?”
‘Yes sir. I believe ya’re gonna try to get tha Yanks to chase us sowth, but will it draw tha Yanks off Braddock Heights?”
I smiled at him and uttered, “All we can do is try.”