The Corporal grinned back and answered, “Their corrals are nawth of tha camp. They’s got about three of ‘em. But they don’t got too many men protecting ‘em. I’d say ‘bout 15, all told.”
“What about tha camp? How’s it laid out?” I queried.
“They’s got 5 company streets with tents facin each other nawth to sowth on each street,” he stated.
“How far are tha company streets from tha corrals?” I quizzed.
“They’s ‘bout 50 yards,” he returned.
“Are therah any tree lines or woods that’d allow us to get up close to tha camp or tha corrals?” I probed.
“Yes sir. They’s a tree line to tha sowth and east of the company streets,” he informed.
I turned to Sarge Billings and questioned, “How many men do we have with us?”
He looked down at the ground to do the cyphering in his head. Then he looked up and said, “’bout fifty.”
I went silent and looked as if I had gone into a trance. Then I focused on the Sarge and directed, “I’m gonna take ten men and skirt tha Yankee camp to tha sowth and then to tha east using tha woods as cover. I want ya to take tha rest of the men and divide ‘em into two groups in formations of two men abreast. Follow me to the woods east of the Yank camp and face the men to the west.”
“When ya hear us raise Cain at the corrals, have the two groups of yar men charge down the two southernmost Yankee company streets, firing into tha tents. When y’all clear tha streets, reform in tha woods to tha south and fire at tha Yankee camp.”
“We will go back east into tha woods when we are through stampeding the Yank horses and try to come around to join ya. However, if we aren’t successful and the Yanks get thar horses, they might try to charge ya. If’n they do, don’t wait on us. Take off south to Adamstown.”
“We’ll head east, and then south, and make for Adamstown on our own. Is that clear?”
Sarge Billings grinned and said, “It’s as plain as day.”
I grinned back and said, “Which troopers do I get?”
He smiled and said, “F troop.”
I almost laughed out loud, but stifled it in time. The connotations weren’t lost on me. I added, “I’ll give ya 30 minutes to get yar men in place. Then I’ll attack.”
Sarge Billings nodded and pointed to my troop of men. I nodded back and rode to tha members of F Troop with Zeke and Skeeter in tow. Their corporal saluted me when we rode up. I returned his salute and directed, “Yar troop is to come with me. Stay in single file and don’t say a word. We’re gonna do some horse rustling.” The surprised look on the corporal’s face was worth the wise crack I had made.
We walked the horse into the woods to the south and began our trek to the Yankee horse corrals.