This was too weird. Verna Elsey was my grandmother on my father’s side. I had never met her. She had died when my Dad was about twelve years old. She lived in Lexington, Kentucky and is buried there. At least she was in my time period.
I continued to gaze at her with a slack-jawed moronic look. She probably thought I was addled from the saber blow to my head.
Finally, I recovered enough to ask, “How did ya get here?”
She was startled by my question. It took her a moment to react. “I have lived in this valley all my life,” she replied. “Why do ya ask?”
I swallowed hard and thought I’d better give a really coherent reply. “I’m sorry. Ya remind me of someone and for a moment I thought you were that person.”
She nodded with an expression of relief and patted me on the shoulder. “Ya better be on yar way. The whole kit and caboodle are leaving and ya don’t want to be left behind,” she declared.
I nodded and slowly got to my feet. I was a bit light-headed, but after a few seconds got my equilibrium and walked out of the house to the porch. Zeke and Skeeter were standing at the hitching rail in front of the house. As I ambled unsteadily down the three porch steps, they decided I was too wobbly to proceed on my own. Each came forward and took one of my arms. They directed me to Stonewall, who gave a loud whinny to let me know he was glad to see me. I smiled as the two men boosted me into the saddle.
Zeke said, “Jim, are ya well enough to ride on yar own?”
I looked at him and replied, “Yes, I’m okay. Hand me the reins.”
He complied, and the two men mounted their own cayuses.
I looked at Zeke and directed, “Take us to Harpers Ferry.”
He nodded, and we trotted out of Adamstown, Maryland and headed south. After about two miles, we caught up with the main force.
We saw Major Mosby take his leave and salute General Ashby, who continued south to cross the Potomac River at Point of Rocks. Major Mosby’s companies continued west to Harpers Ferry, while skirting the Potomac River to the north. Me and my small entourage followed.
I had developed a splitting headache and had to slow our progress to a walk. Soon, the rest of the unit was out of sight. We ambled along for a long time. Not having to trot or gallop Stonewall really did help my headache. Toward twilight we reached Weverton, which was about four miles from Harpers Ferry. The men wanted to find a place to stay here for the night, but I vetoed that idea. I wanted to be in the confines of our garrison as soon as possible. So, we continued westward at a walk.
I don’t remember much after we left Weverton. I must have blacked out. I do remember waking up once. I was still in the saddle, but leaning forward on Stonewall’s neck.
We made it to Harpers Ferry, because I remember Zeke giving the sentinel that was guarding the bridge over the Potomac a hard time for stopping us because we didn’t know the password. That was the last I remember.
I awoke to a nice breeze blowing over me. I tried to rise, but my head hurt too much, and I lay back down. Suddenly, there was a blurry figure bending over me.
I blinked a few times and, as my eyes focused, I saw an angel looking down at me.
Daphne Jane Newcomer smiled, gently touched my face and stammered, “Ya were in such a bad state, when ya got here, that I thought I’d lost ya, Jim. Thank the Lord you’ve pulled through.”
I must have been given some sort of sedative, because all I could do was smile as I drifted off into oblivion.
I came to my senses again, but didn’t feel as if I had been given any drugs to induce sleep. I moved to adjust my back, which was aching from being in a prone position for too long. Abruptly, Hattie Gray came into my view.
“Well, it’s about time ya woke up. We been waiting on ya hand and foot for nigh on to a week,” she declared.
I smiled and said, “Thank ya Hattie. Seems like you’re always taking care of me for some reason.”
She smiled her gap-tooth smile that I had come to love and blushed. “Well, me and Ms. Newcomer been splitting time nursing ya back from death’s door.”
That reminded me, “I woke up once and saw her bending over me. Is she still here?”
“Yes siree. She’s getting some shut-eye in a room down the hall. I’ll go get her,” she stated.
“Naw, Hattie. Let her sleep. She probably needs it,” I concluded.
A door to the room quickly opened and Daphne appeared. She rushed to my bed, knelt, and laid her head on my chest. She began to cry.
Hattie uttered, “I’ll be a-goin’ now,” and left the room.