Civil War Transcendence, part 352

 

We arrived at the cavalry camp in no time. The sergeant I had talked to before was still on duty, and he ushered me in without preamble as I rode up to the guard post. I went immediately to Colonel Daniels’ tent and dismounted.  His guard said that the Colonel had gone to the mess tent for his noon meal.

I got directions from the guard, and getting back on Stonewall, I rode fifty yards to the 19th century version of a mess hall.

Sure enough, the Colonel was eating at the officer’s table with some of his staff. I got his attention. He excused himself and came outside the tent to talk with me. I quickly apologized and told him I had failed to inform him that we had brought back the body of one of the assassins. It was at the Newcomer barn to the southwest of Harpers Ferry. When I told him the identity of the culprit, his face flushed a bright red color.

“May I asked the Colonel to recover the body from the Newcomer’s and let me know tomorrow when you will be confronting Marshal Gill about his deputy’s attempted assassination? I would like to be in the contingent that accosts him,” I requested.

The Colonel’s continence turned very grim, and then he displayed a very foreboding smile. “I will be glad to have you in attendance. I will send for you tomorrow when we have the body ready for viewing by Marshal Gill,” he informed me.

“Will the Colonel will allow me a suggestion?” I asked.

The Colonel gave a curt nod.

“Based on all the people that have been uncovered in the probable spy ring and those that we still need to uncover, it might be that only your most faithful officers and men should be utilized for the recovery of the deputy’s body,” I suggested.

The Colonel looked at me with an exasperated expression for a moment and then bowed his head in contemplation for another moment. Raising his head to look at me sternly, he stated, “Unfortunately, I believe you are correct in your assumption of the information getting out and alerting Marshal Gill. I wish you had told me of the evidence of the deputy’s body earlier. I could have already dispatched a unit to retrieve it.”

I blushed from head to toe at my indigence. All I could say was, “I am definitely at fault, Sir.”

The Colonel continued his stern gaze and added, “Don’t let it happen again.”

I returned, “Yes, sir.”

“Ya are dismissed, Lieutenant,” and then he added with a small smile, “Wait, I guess I better amend that to Captain.”

I saluted and said, “Yes, sir.”

I about-faced, mounted Stonewall and left the camp as fast as I could.  Once on the road to Harpers Ferry, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought, “Now I can concentrate on our wedding.”

Once back at the hotel, I dismounted Stonewall and walked him to the back of the hotel where John Lee was still trying to get all of Daphne’s things transferred to her room. I tied Stonewall’s reins to a wheel of the carriage, waved at John Lee, who returned my gesture, and went to my room.

I undressed and found some old trousers and a shirt to wear. Taking my black suit and boots to the front desk, I deposited them with the clerk for brushing and polishing, in regard to the boots.

Going back upstairs, I lay down for a short nap. However, I was roused from a deep sleep by a banging on my door. I quickly picked up a Colt and unlocked the door. A maid stood in the hallway with my suit and boots. I thanked her and took my apparel from her. I slipped her a dollar for her trouble. She thanked me profusely and hurried downstairs. I hung my suit on a wall peg and got back in the bed.

 

About an hour later, I was awakened from an even deeper sleep by someone knocking at the door. Coming suddenly out of a self-induced coma, I sprang from the bed with a Colt aimed at the door expecting it to be battered down any minute. Once I realized there was no eminent danger, I calmed down, unlocked the door and opened it.

Peeking outside, I viewed John Lee with his hat in his hand and a big smile on his face. “I’s been sent to bring ya to tha Presbyterian Church for yar wedding.”

I grinned from ear to ear and said, “I’ll be down in just a second,” and closed the door. It didn’t take me long to dress in my black apparel.

Once downstairs, John Lee motioned me out the back door. Not uttering a word, we walked solemnly down the alley to a side street and then up to the Presbyterian Church. As I mounted the stairs to the church’s front porch, my stomach was in my throat. I was in a daze. I stopped in front of the double-door entrance way and took a deep breathe. I pulled one of the doors open, while John Lee opened the other one. Then we entered the place of worship.

 

 

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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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