Civil War Transcendence, part 381

The position of the sniper changed my plan. If we could lure him across the Potomac Bridge, we could confront him now rather than wait for him to shoot us from ambush. I draped the binocular strap over the pommel (saddle horn of a cavalry saddle) and again went into my thinking mode of what action to implement.

Hopefully, the civilian-clad Confederates stationed on the Maryland side would provide a blocking force of sorts once the gunman crossed the bridge.

However, if Mosby’s civilian-clothed men on the Maryland side hadn’t discovered the sniper’s present position, and I believed they hadn’t, there was no way to inform them as to his location without alerting him. (What I wouldn’t give for a bunch of walkie talkies.)

On further consideration, I was betting the shooter is going to be able to vacate his Maryland nest without arousing any suspicion and cross the bridge with the intent of ambushing us after he sees whether we chose the River Road or the Halltown Road to follow.

At best, Mosby’s men on the Maryland side would probably react only when they heard gunfire and rode to the sound of the guns.

Thus, we have to let the assassin get far enough into Harpers Ferry before confronting him with Mosby’s camouflaged men in the town so he can’t get back across the Potomac Bridge because, I believe, if he ever did get back to the soil of Maryland, he would elude our men on the Maryland side and get away.

So the next question is:  Do the ladies need to stuff their clothes to portray their likenesses?

Not If the carriage left Bolivar Heights and jointed the Halltown Road. It would be hard for the killer to actually see the facial features of carriage passengers, since the carriage would be traveling away from the shooter. The ladies and John Lee could actually occupy the carriage, and we could have a contingent of cavalry waiting for them near Halltown to protect them on a return trip to Harpers Ferry.

I could change clothes with one of the cavalrymen at the Confederate outpost, and he could pose as me for our plan to work. That would allow me to go down the hill into Harpers Ferry posing as a lone trooper and participate in closing our trap for the sniper.

I decided to make the wardrobe switch because the gunman would probably leave his perch and cross the bridge once we left on the Halltown Road.  We would only have a brief window of opportunity to catch him in our trap.

I meandered back to the Confederate outpost using the back of the Bolivar Heights buildings as cover. I dismounted Stonewall at the back of the outpost and entered via the back door. Looking around at the Confederate troopers available, and there were three, I picked the one closest to my size and motioned for him to follow me.

We went out the back door and walked to the horse shed. I inspected the cayuses that were tied up and saddled for immediately disposition. Only one looked as if it could have passed for Stonewall.

I turned to the trooper, who had a quizzical look on his face and asked, “Whose horse is this?”

“Mine,” responded the trooper.

“Good,” I said.

“Do ya know who I am?” I queried.

“Yes sah. Yar Captain Hager,” he answered.

“Good. Well, trooper ya are going to be summarily promoted to Captain,” I said with a smile.

A few minutes later I walked into outpost via the back door and, seeing the ladies still immersed in their conflab, uttered, “Ladies, it’s time to go.”

Three sets of eyes suddenly looked frightened and then skeptical once they saw that a private with his hat pulled low to hide his face had given the order.

Daphne got to her feet and uttered, “Who are ya to give us orders?”

I raised my hat up from my forehead with my right forefinger to let it perch on the back of my pate and said, “Me.”






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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