Civil War Transcendence, part 329


I woke with the worst headache imaginable.  Someone had laid me across the top of one of the cannon’s limbers. I slowly tried to sit up when I felt hands grip me so I wouldn’t fall off. We were moving at a fast clip, and thank goodness, I didn’t hear any firing. So, I hoped we had run the Yanks away.

My nursemaid let me put my right hand to the back of my head. I felt a large bump there and when I brought my hand down there was blood on it.


“What happened?” I asked.

“Don’t know sir,” was the answer. “You was brought to us as we started out and told to take care of ya. That’s all I know,” the speaker added.

I nodded and focused on my precarious position. I was facing backwards and saw what looked like a company of men following us.  I looked at my benefactor and saw by the red strips on his arm that he was a sergeant of artillery.

He asked, “Ya wanna turn around and face forward?”

I nodded and he helped me turn around. The wind created by our movement felt good on my face.  I closed my eyes and leaned forward as I lost consciousness.

I awoke to someone putting a cold wet cloth on the back of my head. I was face down on a divan.

A woman said, “There, there now. Take it easy. Be careful. You’ve had a nasty crack on the head.”

I said, “I would like to sit up.”

“Okay, but be careful,” she chided.

I gently rolled on my back, which caused severe pain to my head and neck.  I had to wait a moment or two before I attempted to sit up. I gripped the back of the divan with my left hand and pulled myself up while pushing down with my right hand. As I came to a sitting position, I swung my legs to the right and came to a sitting position on the divan. However, the sudden surge in pain made me feel nauseous. I leaned back on the divan and breathed deeply for what seemed like an hour, but was probably just a few minutes. When the pain subsided sufficiently, I opened my eyes to behold an older woman in a green dress looking at me with a worried expression. I gingerly put my right hand to the back of my head and felt a dressing wrapped around my head.

I looked at my surroundings and understood I was in a house.  I looked at the woman and asked, “Where am I?”

She smiled and said, “You’re in Adamstown.”

I nodded and probed, “Where’s Major Mosby?”

She put her hand to the side of my face and queried, “How da ya feel, Lieutenant?”

“Like I’ve been run over by a whole herd of buffalo,” I rejoined.

She smiled and said, “Major Mosby’s next door, and I sent for him when ya started to stir. He oughta be here in a minute.”

Sure enough, Mosby strode in the room at that exact moment, “Well, Jim, how do ya feel?”

I grinned and said, “Everybody is asking me that question. Well, to tell ya the truth, I feel pretty bad, Major.”

“No doubt. Ya took a blow from a saber. Ya can thank yar lucky stars that it was a glancing blow, but our surgeon still had to put about twenty stitches in yar head,” informed the Major.

“I take it that we ran the Yanks off?” I asked,

“Yes, thanks to yar leading that attack on their flank,” he said. “They were stopped cold in their frontal assault. I had our right company charge them as an added bonus. We had ‘em in a pincher move. They saw the futility of their ways and broke and rode off.

“Jim, we’ve gotta move pretty quick. General Ashby and our men are gonna head south to Point of Rocks. General Ashby will be crossing the Potomac and getting back with General Jackson. We won’t cross the Potomac, but will skirt its nawthern bank back to Harpers Ferry,” he informed. “How are ya for riding?” he inquired.

“I ‘spect I can make it. When do we leave?” I asked.

“Some of the men have already left. Yar two men are outside and waiting to help ya ride south. I’ve got to get going. I just wanted to say that ya did a great job on this herah raid,” he acknowledged.  “Take care and I’ll see ya later,” he added.

He saluted and left the room. He left so rapidly that I didn’t even have a chance to salute.

I looked at the woman who apparently had taken care of me and said, “Ma’am, I apologize for not even asking yar name.”

She smiled and said, “Verna Elsey.”

I gasped and looked at her as if I had seen a ghost.

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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