We reached the National Pike’s crossing of the Monocacy River. Thank heavens, no Yanks were there. So we crossed, and once we hit the eastern shore, I turned us south.
I couldn’t hear our main body firing at the Yank camp anymore. So I was relieved that they were probably retreating toward Adamstown. I brought our men to a halt and dismounted. We began to walk our horses to give them a breather. I guess we had trudged about a mile went we heard cannon booming toward the west. We stopped and tried to view Braddock Heights, but there was too much intervening foliage and high ground. The cannonade seemed to be directed toward an object further west.
I smiled and said, “I think Major Mosby has accomplished his mission.”
The men nodded, but they were too tired to really enjoy the moment.
I reasoned, “If the Yanks at the camp south of Frederick had followed our main body, they certainly would turn back to see what was happening at downtown Frederick and Braddock Heights. In fact, I hoped we have confused them so much they don’t know which way to turn.
I motioned for the men to continue walking. We came to a large road and Zeke informed me it was Reich’s Road.
I asked, “What’s tha next big road we will cross, and how far is it?”
He answered, “Urbana Pike’s next, and it’s about two miles.”
I nodded and asked, “That’s tha pike with a ford that’s closest to tha eastern edge of tha Yank camp, right?”
He just nodded in the affirmative.
I directed, “We’re gonna walk some more. Then we’re gonna mount and get past Urbana Pike.”
I suddenly got a notion and asked Zeke, “What’s the next ford after Urbana Pike and how far is it?”
“I don’t rightly remember tha name of tha road or tha ford, but there’s a side road that will take us sowth from tha Urbana Pike to tha ford. It’s ‘bout three miles, and that ford is about four miles from Adamstown,” he informed me.
I nodded as we continued walking. We could still hear cannonade in the distance. Sometimes when the wind was blowing just right, we could hear what sounded like small arms firing also.
After a while I pulled my pocket watch out and estimated we had been walking about an hour. I put my watch back in the coat pocket and commanded, “Let’s mount up.”
Stonewall let me know what he thought of my directive by blowing out a long snore. I chuckled and mounted up.
The ever observant Skeeter inquired, “Does that horse know what yar saying?”
I looked at him, smiled and said, “Yep.”
Skeeter initially looked at me with an awed expression, and then thinking I was pulling his leg said, “Ahh, Lieutenant.”
I just retorted, “Let’s go.”
We walked the horses for another 15 minutes and then began a gentle lope to the Urbana Pike.
The Urbana Pike was going to be a possible problem. The Yanks might have been so spooked by our attack from the east on their corrals, that they had fortified the Urbana Pike ford and placed troopers east of the ford as pickets, plus instituted patrols of the area east of the ford.
We reached a stand of trees on the north bank of a small creek that branched off the Monocacy just to the northeast of the Urbana Ford and halted. Just as I thought, the Yanks had stationed a force on both sides of the ford. We were hidden from sight due to the tree line. However, I didn’t know the extent of the Yankee occupation of the area east of the ford. If we withdrew and went further east to avoid the Yanks, and they had patrols to the east, we could arouse the whole Yank contingent at the ford if we ran into a patrol. Then they would come down on us like fleas on a hound, because it looked like they outnumbered us three to one. Also, if we got into a running fight, our horses wouldn’t last. They were tired out as it was. We needed to get by the Yanks and make our way back to Adamstown at our own pace.
I shook my head after failing to come up with a solution. Then an idea came to me. It wasn’t one I liked, but it just might work.