Civil War Transcendence, part 327

 

It seemed like two minutes, but it was about an hour and a half later. We were aroused by firing in the distance. I gingerly got up and began to put a saddle on Stonewall. Other members of the company were stirring also. I saw Skeeter and Zeke saddling their cayuses a few tents further down the company street.

I finished saddling Stonewall and mounted. Riding down the street, I motioned to Skeeter and Zeke to follow me. We continued heading north between the two row of tents. I found the rest of our crew getting their horses saddled.

I stopped in front of them and said, “We’re going ahead and seeing what is happening. I want y’all to get saddled up, get as many carbine cartridges and pistols that each of ya can carry, and follow us as soon as ya can. I got’sa a feeling we are gonna need ‘em.”

One of the men ventured, “What if tha quartermaster won’t issue us what we need?”

“Take ‘em by force, if need be, and tell him I authorized it,” I growled.

I rode off with the troopers’ mouth agape at my orders. I turned to look back at Skeeter and Zeke. Skeeter looked appalled, but Zeke just grinned from ear to ear.

Six horse team pulling a supply wagon

Six horse team pulling a supply wagon.

We rode northeast on the Mountville Road and then turned north on the Ballenger Creek Pike before running into Mosby’s two ammunition wagons hightailing toward our camp.  We got off the road just in time to be run over by the racing drays. The speed they were maintaining indicated they were empty and just trying to make it to the camp for more ammo.

We nudged our mounts to an all-out gallop and soon came upon one of Mosby’s four companies headed toward our Adamstown camp. We got off the road to allow them to pass, but didn’t see who the company commander was as they sped by us.

The sound of firing was getting closer the farther north we galloped.  All of a sudden, there were two cannon explosions. I was just hoping they were ours.

We came around a bend in the road and saw Mosby sitting his horse behind two cannon crews that were busy reloading their field guns. There seemed to be a dismounted company of our cavalry in battle line to the left of the road and another dismounted company on the right side of the road. There was a mounted company in reserve located on the left side of the road and behind the deployed dismounted one.  I quickly rode to the Major and saluted. He was startled at my sudden appearance.

“Can I be of assistance in any way, Major?” I queried.

“Yes, we need ammunition badly. Can you procure us some?” he requested.

“Sir, we have some ammunition on the way, but not enough to resupply three companies,” I advised.

“Well, the company in reserve is out of ammo and the two companies on battle line are just about out,” he warned.

“What are we up against, sir?” I questioned.

“A reinforced company that is heavily armed, but once we were able to find a place to unlimber our cannon and fire at them, they halted their attacks. They have set up a battle line and are probing our lines at the present time.  When we came south off Braddock Heights, they hit us from the east and have been harassing us ever since,” he conveyed. “However, once they figure out we don’t have canister or grape shot, they will, no doubt, be more aggressive.”

“Sir, as soon as my men arrive with the resupply of ammo, why not let us distribute the new armament to the reserve company and let me lead a flank charge to dislodge, and hopefully, make the Yanks withdraw?” I inquired.

“When will your resupply men arrive?” he demanded.

“Momentarily, major. I will send a courtier to speed them up,” I promised.

“Then do it Lieutenant. We need to get the enemy off our trail. The men are exhausted and need some relief,” he admitted.

I turned to Skeeter and ordered, “Go back and hurry up the men with ammo!”

He saluted and rode off toward Adamstown.

At that moment the two cannon roared sending their missiles toward the Yanks.  Unfortunately, it was only six pound solid shot.

At that moment the Yanks surged forward toward our company located to the right of the pike.  Zeke and I nudged our mounts in that direction.

 

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About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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