Civil War Transcendence, part 401


I thought for a few moments and then said, “Why don’t we threaten him with being a spy, which is a hanging offense, and see if we can scare ‘im into revealing what we wanna know?”

“Sounds good to me,” Al remarked.

I added, “Why don’t ya stay here and wait on Mr. Poffenberger? Hopefully, our prisoner will still be out when Mr. Poffenberger sets his arm.  I’m gonna ride into Martinsburg and visit the cavalry contingent there. I hope they have a spare telegraph machine that I can confiscate. I don’t have a telegraph operator yet, but I’m working on it.”

Al nodded and said, “Whatcha want me to do with our prisoner when his arm’s set?”

I thought for a moment and suggested, “Why don’t ya take him to Hattie’s Place and put him in her barn? Ya can sleep in my room ‘cause it’s paid up, plus get fed ‘cause that’s paid up too. Keep him there until I come for him.”

I knew that I had made the right offer, because Al lit up with a grin from ear to ear. I expected that Ms. Hattie was going to be courted like she had never been courted before. I laughed and added, “Ya got a horse that ya can transport tha prisoner on?”

“I’m afraid not,” he reported.

“Well, when Mr. Poffenberger gets here, he’ll probably be in a wagon. Ask him if he’ll take the prisoner to Hattie’s Place for ya.”

I handed him a five dollar greenback, I directed, “Give him this for his trouble.”

Al’s eyes flew open at the sight of the U.S. currency. He looked at me and with a mischievous grin and asked, “Do ya have any more ya could spare?”

I chuckled and handed him another five dollar greenback and remarked, “Don’t spend it all in one place.”

He laughed and said, “Ya know. I’ve had been shot at more times than I can count; been part of more spy missions than the average spy; been advanced in rank from a private to a sergeant; and now been given more spondulicks that I never could hope for. Being yar second in command definitely has its advantages.”

I chuckled and added, “Ya might add that yar my friend, also.”

Al became serious and extended his hand, which I grasped. We shook hands like men who were friends and would be for life.

Once we had made our non-verbal bond of brotherhood, I asked, “Where did ya get the word ‘spondulicks’?”

Al grinned and explained, “We always used it as another word for money.”

I smiled and said, “I haven’t heard it in a long time. In fact my grandmother used it on occasion.”

Immediately, I thought, “In fact, Hattie said that to me when I was about ten years old.”

Coming out of my quick day dream, I said with a knowing smile, “I hope to be back today, but l won’t come see ya ‘til tomorrow, so make good use of yar time.”

Al turned red in the face and laughed good-naturedly.

I exited the school house and looked around for Stonewall. He had been grazing on the grass located besides the building. When he heard me come out on the small porch, he trotted around to where I could mount from the porch.

Once in the saddle, I said, “We’re gonna go to the cavalry outpost in Martinsburg.”

He immediately started trotting to the west toward our objective. Now, how he knew which way to go was a mystery to me. Anyway, we headed out, and once we had cleared the main intersection at the west end of Shepherdstown, Stonewall kicked into a higher gear and began to lope. Stonewall must have had a schedule all his own because, periodically, he would reduce speed to a walk, and after a few minutes again, start loping. Needless to say, we ate up the miles.

It had been a number of weeks since I had been in Martinsburg recovering from my wound. I definitely didn’t want to visit Daphne’s Cousin Jamison while in town, and I know he didn’t want to see me either.

Again, it was eerie when we entered the town that Stonewall went straight to the cavalry outpost without any direction from me.

When Stonewall stopped in front of the cavalry outpost building, I dismounted and looked at him for a long time. Then I said, “How did ya do that?”

He had been looking straight ahead, but when I tendered my question, he turned to look at me and snorted. Then he walked over to a water trough located in front of the outpost.

I just shook my head and muttered, “Will wonders never cease?” and entered the outpost.




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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