Civil War Transcendence, part 360

 

360 camp

My gaze drifted to another occupier of the tent. Major Mosby sat in a chair at a table in the middle of the tent. He hadn’t stood up when I made my abrupt entrance, but he looked at me with keen interest after I had made my statement of knowing who the spy master was.

I turned to the Major, and saluting him, stated, “Sir.”

He smiled and returned my salute.

The Colonel had jumped up at my ingress and rash statement. He failed to return my salute, probably due to my outlandish declaration. He sat down with a thud and said, “Captain, ya best report why ya made such an impetuous assertion.”

Recovering the appropriate military decorum, I stood at attention and related the gun fight that had taken place outside our room at the hotel.  As I revealed the particulars, the Colonel’s eyebrows shot up and his eyes widened. When I had imparted the effects of the gun fight, who my adversaries were, and that I had only been wounded in the arm, his jaw dropped and he looked at me as if I had grown three eyes.

Slowly he turned his head to Major Mosby and asked, “Major, is this tale to be believed?”

The Major returned the Colonel’s stare and declared, “If Jim said it, then it’s true.”

The Colonel looked back in my direction and fixing me with a stern gaze stated, “Do ya know what kind of predicament this places tha cavalry in? Ya’ve just killed the local marshal and his deputies,” he accused.

“Yes sir, I know, but did ya get tha body from the Newcomer’s barn?  I asked.

“Yes, it was recovered this afternoon,” he answered in a bewildered voice.

“That corpse was a deputy of Marshal Gill. My wife, her servants and I recognized him.  Tha marshal must have gotten word of his deputy’s body being retrieved and it forced him to kill two of tha people, who could link him to sending tha assassins to shoot us,” I claimed.

“So yar saying tha marshal was tha head of this spy ring?” mused Major Mosby.

“No sir, it wasn’t tha marshal. Tha person operating this ring is a lot smarter than Marshal Gill,” I remarked.

“Then, who is it?” required Colonel Daniels.

“I believe it is Elias Throckmorton,” I announced.

“Are ya crazy?” exploded Colonel Daniels.

I looked at Major Mosby and then back at the Colonel. I took a deep breath and shared the last few mutterings of the assassin that had lived a few moments after the hotel shoot out. I then connected the dots about Shepherdstown being the center of the majority of clandestine and overt Yankee activity. I tied in the assassination of Marshal Wells plus Major Mosby having suspected Marshal Gill of being a Union spy for quite some time. I then made the leap about Throckmorton telling two separate families of my wedding and sending them down to Harpers Ferry to attend.

I asked, “How did he know if someone from Harpers Ferry hadn’t told him?”

I continued, “I believe tha person that told him was Marshal Gill. Throckmorton sent our friends from around Shepherdstown to add to tha wedding confusion and hopefully lead to tha relaxation of my guard. He almost succeeded. If my wife hadn’t registered tha room she utilized as her dressing room as our only hotel room, we would have been killed early this morning.”

“So ya believe tha dying gunman was trying to say ‘banker’ when he died?” asked Mosby.

“Yes sir, I am,” I replied.

“Well, I don’t think we can convict him of treason yet. We need more evidence. Do ya have a way we can get tha goods on him?” inquired Mosby.

“I’ll have to give it some thought, Major. Before tha marshal was killed, I was gonna use tha dead deputy’s body to force him to reveal who he had been working with, but I’m afraid I eliminated that source of evidence,” I confessed in a regretful voice.

Mosby laughed and said, “Well, Jim, ya can’t be faulted for defending yarself and yar wife.”

The Colonel still looked peeved. He turned to Major Mosby and stated, “How in heaven’s name are we gonna explain to tha Richmond Command what happened to Gill?”

Major Mosby smiled slyly and said, “We won’t. We’ll just report that we had a run in with some union sympathizers and they had unfortunately been killed in tha exchange of gunfire.”

“Ya mean, lie to ‘em?” the Colonel said in a panicky voice.

“No, sir. Definitely not! We just won’t give them all tha facts of tha matter until we have tha spy master dead to rights. Then we can tell Richmond of tha great job ya’ve accomplished here,” Mosby presented with a straight face.

I had to stifle a smile at Mosby’s preening of the Colonel’s ego.

“Oh!” said the Colonel. Suddenly he scrunched up his face, “But what about tha town authorities?” he whined.

I spoke up, “I believe I have a solution to that dilemma.”

 

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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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