It took about half an hour for the main body to meet us at our location. When they arrived, Sarge Billings saluted and I returned his salute.
“On y’all’s way to Adamstown, Sarge Madigan took over command of the company from me,” I asked, “Where’s he now?”
Sarge Billings returned, “He was reassigned to Major Mosby soon as we got to Adamstown.”
I nodded and then began, “I’ve sent two scouts to find tha Yank garrison. Once we whipped ‘em back down tha road, I was hoping they’d turn tail and head to their base camp. I believe that’s what they did.
“When our scouts come back with tha location of tha Yank garrison, you and I will reconnoiter and see what’s tha best plan for attack. I want to scare ‘em so they’ll call for help from Braddock Heights or at least raise enough Cain so Mosby can surprise tha Yank contingent on tha heights. When we do hit tha garrison, I want tha Yanks to end up following us sowth, hopeful with reinforcements from tha heights. We will just have to attack and see what happens. Do ya have any questions?”
The sergeant let out a deep breath and shook his head. I looked at him closely. He seemed tired and haggard. I asked, “Are ya alright sarge?”
He looked at me and said, “We been given every dangerous mission on this here raid. I was looking for some rest for my men and their horses.”
I nodded in agreement and then said, “Well, yar company has shown to be tha best of all five companies. I guess that’s why you got picked to do most of tha dangerous missions.”
“That’s all well and good Lieutenant, but the company has lost almost half its men. If’n we go into battle against this garrison, we’re liable to get wiped out,” retorted the sergeant.
I looked the sergeant in the eye and stated, “I can’t promise ya what will happen to us during this raid, and I know it has been hard on tha men so far. But we gotta keep tha Yanks from taking Fredericksburg and this raid will do a lot to throw Old Abe and General Scott into a frenzy to protect Washington City. So we have to do tha best we can while we’re here to mess up tha Yankee’s plans.”
The sergeant let out another deep breath and agreed, “I know Lieutenant and tha men appreciate yar riding out front and not saving yarself like most hoity-toity officers do. Not that yar a hoity-toity. It’s just that it seems this war will never end.”
I nodded and requested, “If’n y’all will just hang tough for a little longer, I’ll see what I can do in tha way of leave for tha men.”
The sergeant actually got a smile on his face and acknowledged, “Tha men would greatly appreciate that. Don’t worry about us Lieutenant. We’ll do our duty. We just like to hear that we are appreciated ever once in a while.”
“Well, y’all are appreciated. You can bet on that,” I added.
The sergeant nodded and we both turned to see the scouts filtering back through the woods from their reconnoitering.
The corporal and the other scout rode to us and saluted. The sergeant and I both returned the salute. I said, “Well, Corporal, where are tha Yanks?”
The corporal shook his head and said, “There’s a whole passel of ‘em about a mile to tha east. There’s about 500 of ‘em. We counted five company flags, two 12 inch cannon, and a bunch of tents. Tha one good thing is there ain’t no fort. They’s camped out in tents.”
I demanded, “Are they cavalry or infantry?”
“Oh, they’s cavalry, Lieutenant,” replied the corporal.
I grinned and queried, “So where do they keep their horses?”