The Colonel looked at me expectantly.
“Sir, why don’t ya collect tha town council together, which would consist of tha Mayor, tha clergy, and tha newspaper editor, and tell ‘em they’ll need to get an election implemented for a new town marshal? Tell ‘em that Marshal Gill had been suspected of criminal activities for a long time, and that he and his henchmen were killed trying to assassinate a cavalry officer. Also reassure ‘em that tha cavalry contingent will maintain law and order until tha new marshal is elected,” I suggested.
The Colonel’s jaw dropped as I went through my possible solution of the elimination of Marshal Gill and his gang of cutthroats. Out of the corner of my eye I saw that Major Mosby was grinning from ear to ear.
Finally, Colonel Daniels took a big gulp of air and stammered, “Tha, that’s a very good plan, Captain. I’ll implement it immediately.”
Then he called to his adjutant to enter the tent. As he was issuing orders for an assembly of the town council, Mosby and I walked outside.
The Major said with a grin, “That was a very good proposal, Jim. I knew ya would come in handy someday.”
I smiled and nodded at the major. Then I offered, “Let’s walk and talk.”
He nodded and we began an easy stroll to the edge of the camp. I didn’t want to tire out the major or delay his recuperation.
“How are ya doing?” I asked broaching his health situation.
“I have good days and not so good days, but I feel stronger every day,” he apprised me. “I’m really glad that ya got rid of Marshal Gill.” Then he laughed and said, “Ya know, come to think of it, it seems ya have been the exterminator of the whole Gill gang.”
I turned, and looking at him, said, “Ya know, I guess ya’re right. I hadn’t thought of it like that before.”
We walked in silence for a few steps and then I confessed, “I haven’t thought of a plan to get Throckmorton to show his hand so we can arrest him for treason.”
The Major admitted, “Me neither.”
“If’n ya do, please let me know,” I requested.
“I ‘spect tha best thing to do is go back to Shepherdstown, return to yar job of school teacher, get tha home guard organized and put tha telegraph office back in operation. If ya keep a sharp eye on things, ya might be able to get tha goods on him,” he recommended.
I nodded and said, “Sounds like good advice.” I stopped, turned to face him and asked, “How will we keep in touch?”
“Get tha telegraph office up and running as soon as possible and we can communicate on a daily basis,” he stated.
“That’ll be my first priority when we get back to Shepherdstown,“ I promised.
Suddenly, Al Madigan’s face flashed into my mind. I said, “Major, we talked about Sergeant Madigan joining up with me again. Do ya know where he’s at?”
The Major smiled and informed me, “I sent the sergeant ahead to Shepherdstown and told him to meet up with ya on tha sly. He’s to be tha liaison between us and also yar aide.”
I nodded and said, “Thanks Major.”
Mosby looked at me and said, “Ya’ve had quite a busy few days. Why don’t ya take a day of relaxation and then go back to Shepherdstown? I’ll tell tha Colonel that you have yar orders and will be in communication with us as soon as possible,” he stated.
“Do I need some kind of written order from ya?” I asked.
“No, I don’t want anyone to be able to find out what yar mission is. We know, and of course, I will let tha Colonel know some of yar mission, but we’ll be tha only ones that’ll be in direct communication,” he acknowledged.
I nodded. Then we began a slow and silent amble back to the Colonel’s tent. Once we got back to the tent, Major Mosby turned and said, “Take care of yarself Jim and give my best to Daphne.”
He offered his hand, which I shook. I took one step backward and saluted. He returned my salute.
I performed a snappy about-faced and looked around for Stonewall. I located him standing under a shade tree with his eyes closed. Grass was sticking out of his mouth, which meant he had gone into his meditative state while munching the local flora. As I approached him, he must have sensed my presence because he opened his eyes and began chewing on the grass he had snatched from under the tree.
I said, “Well, I guess we better go back to the hotel.”
Stonewall gave one of his affirmative snorts as I swung into his saddle.
“Let’s go,” I directed.
Stonewall broke into a walk. Then he eased into a trot. Finally he broke into a lope. We ate up the distance to the hotel quickly.