I figured that we were basically cut off from our main body of troops by the horde of Yanks fleeing their camp to the north and toward us. So I decided to take a run through Frederick and raise a little Cain with the local populace. I hoped it would have the desired effect of having the Yanks on Braddock Heights come to the rescue of the Yank camp we had just assaulted.
The only problem would be that the Yanks still had horses available from that third corral we weren’t able to capture. They could have a contingent of troopers on our trail in no time.
If we were to have our fun, it had to be quickly attained. We needed to vacate the area as soon as possible.
We rode like the wind in a column of two’s to the southern suburbs of Frederick. As we entered the residential area of town, people gaped in amazement as we galloped down the streets interrupting the daily business of the residents. People scattered out of the byways and hurried to their homes as we rode by.
When we began to enter the business area of town, the number of carriages, horsemen and foot traffic increased to the point of grid lock.
I stopped the men and yelled, “Did we lose anybody?”
I heard Skeeter retort, “Naw sir.”
I turned back to the men and said, “We are going to continue through town to the north and then loop around to tha east and head sowth to Adamstown. If’n anyone gets separated, just head back to Adamstown. However, we are going to cause some real havoc in tha process. Is everyone fully loaded? If not, get that way.”
I began to quickly reload my spent Colts with loaded cylinders, and the men followed my lead. Once I finished, I looked up and all the troopers were just about fully loaded.
I began, “We are going go on a shooting spree. We will not shoot any civilians. If we run into any Yanks, you may engage them, but mostly we will be firing in tha air and scaring tha locals out of their wits. Is that clear?”
All the man nodded.
I said, “Follow me, and start shootin’ when I do.”
I turned Stonewall around, and as we trotted further into the business district, the concerned merchants and businessmen viewed us with much consternation. In the distance I could hear Sarge Billings and the main body firing at the Yank camp. The distant gunfire plus our presence began to cause the locals apoplexy. You could see it on their faces.
After about a block, I raised my pistol in the air, and hooping the Rebel Yell to the top of my voice, began firing. People ran for any cover they could find. Women screamed. Horse carriages stampeded out of our way, and business was brought to a halt. I was hoping that the Yanks on Braddock Heights were viewing us in their long range binoculars. I also was crossing my fingers that the Yank commander up there would panic and send some of his troopers down to deal with us.
We continued through Frederick, taking all the roads that seemed to go north and firing our pistols in the air. It is needless to say we caused quite a ruckus for the inhabitants of a town untouched by the Civil War. I smiled as we rode out of town. I never had so much fun in my life.
Once we were clear of the town, I halted the men and motioned for Zeke and Skeeter to join me. We stayed mounted and gave the horses a chance to catch their breath.
I rode a few yards ahead of our contingent and asked Zeke, “How can we get across the Monocacy River and head sowth?”
He gaped and then asked, “Howdja know ‘bout tha Monocacy?”
I smiled, shrugged and said, “I’ve studied maps of this area. What I don’t know is where to make a crossing of the river and keep it between us and the Yanks while we head back to Adamstown.”
He nodded and answered, “Therah’s a bunch of fords of the Monocacy on the east side of Frederick. They’s one up nawth where Liberty Road crosses the Monocacy. ‘nother un is straight east of Frederick on tha National Pike. Then farther sowth they’s Reich’s Ford. Even farther sowth they’s a ford wherah Urbana Pike crosses tha Monocacy. So ya can take yar pick.”
I thought for a moment and then probed, “Which one is closest to tha Yank camp?”
“That’d be tha Urbana Ford,” he retorted.
“I wanna keep tha Monocacy between us and tha Yanks if at all possible. We could get bottled up if’n we headed sowth right now on tha Urbana Pike and tha Yanks beat us to tha ford. Looks to me like tha National Pike is tha closest ford on tha Monocacy. If’n we go ahead and cross tha Monocacry, and tha Yanks cross it and come looking for us, we’d have tha whole countryside to tha east for an escape,” I reasoned.
I looked intently at Zeke and probed, “Can ya take us to tha National Pike ford?”
He grinned from ear to ear and said, “Sure as shootin’.”
I grinned back and directed, “Well, what are ya waiting for? Take us therah.”
Zeke wheeled his horse to the southeast and commanded, “Follow me.”
We all deployed into a column of two’s and took up a gentle lope behind our trail blazer.
I smiled as our intrepid band left the scene of our encounter with the Maryland populace. However, in the distance I could hear the firing of our main body. I had hoped Sarge Billings would have already withdrawn from the area and headed south.