Civil War Transcendence, part 399

I didn’t say a word to Stonewall but just nudged him with my knees and held on for dear life. He exploded forward and headed toward the periodic gunfire.

We raced up German Street about two blocks to Church Street, turned right and headed over to Old Queen Alley. Once I had recovered from Stonewall’s lightning bolt jump, I put his reins in my teeth and pulled both Colts from my belt.

When we climbed the small rise on Church Street, I was shocked when I saw Al Madigan firing from behind a tree at a figure near the cottage that Daphne and I had rented from Mrs. Douglas on Old Queen Alley.

Al turned when he heard Stonewall’s hooves hitting the dirt as we appeared on the scene and yelled, “Get back! Get back!”

I took one look at the situation. Al was shooting at someone who was shooting back. That was good enough for me. I nudged Stonewall, and he hit his overdrive gear as I began to fire my Colts, one at a time, at the person who was firing from the side of our cottage.

I guess the appearance of a berserker on a war horse bearing down on him was too much for the assailant, because he left his vantage position and headed to the back of the cottage. I must have gotten target fixation because, before I knew it, we came to the waist-high fence in front of the cottage. I still had Stonewall’s reins in my teeth and we didn’t have enough stopping distance before we hit the fence. I just closed my eyes and hoped Stonewall wouldn’t be hurt too badly when we rammed into the barrier.

Yet, instead of the sound of us crashing into the picketed barricade I suddenly felt as if we were flying. There were no more clippity-clops, but a complete silence, which I thought heralded my entrance into the great unknown.

However, I was unceremoniously jolted to full consciousness and opened my eyes to see we were on the other side of the fence and quickly gaining on Al’s antagonist.

I yelled, “Whoopee,” like a kid that had scored his first touchdown.

I was so happy that I didn’t shoot the escapee, but let Stonewall hit him a glancing blow that sent him airborne.  As we galloped pass the opponent, I spit out Stonewall’s reins, yelled, “Whoa,” and put the Colt in my right hand in my belt.

It took Stonewall about thirty feet to slow down enough that I could get his reins off his neck and direct him back to our prone adversary.

As we approached the enemy, Al came running around the side of the cottage and yelled, “Man oh man. I didn’t know Stonewall could jump!”

I yelled back, “I didn’t either.”

I dismounted, and we both converged on the man who lay on the ground. He was groaning and holding his right arm. Town’s people began to gather around, and a flurry of questions was being thrown at us.

I put both Colts back in my belt, reached down and picked up the assailant’s pistol before anyone could surreptitiously confiscate the weapon. Al and I disregarded all the questions and lifted the captive to his feet. He immediately yelled and cradled his arm close to his body.  The crowd of town folk hushed and looked aghast at the man’s arm. It had a decided bend in his forearm that wasn’t supposed to be there.

I said to the crowd, “Is there a doctor in tha town?”

One man in the crowd that I recognized as an apothecary clerk answered, “We haven’t had a doctor in tha town for nigh on to two years, but there is a doctor in Martinsburg.”

“Can ya send for him?” I asked.

“Yeah, but Mr. Poffenberger is good about setting broken bones and he’s a whole lot nearer,” the clerk stated.

“Will someone go and get him?” I pleaded.

“I’ll go,” said a young man that I didn’t recognize.

As he left I yelled out, “We’ll be in tha school house.”

He waved that he understood, and in a few seconds, we all heard hoof beats from the front of the cottage as he galloped away.

Everyone had been quietly following our conversation, but when the young man left, they began quizzing us again as to what happened.

I finally raised my hand and said, “Folks, please give us chance to get this man fixed up before we answer any questions.”  At the opportune silence that ensued, Al and I directed the captive through the crowd and toward the school house.

 

 

 

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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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