The lieutenant nodded so hard he looked like a bobble-headed doll. Then he uttered, “Yes, sir, I can keep a secret.”
I crossed my legs and placed my hat on my knee.
“Well, Lieutenant,” I began, “I have a conundrum.”
“We’ve caught a spy in Shepherdstown, and we’re so close to Maryland that there is the possibility of a Yankee raid to free him. What we need is a place we can jail him that is a little farther inland from the Potomac. Do you have any kind of prison or jail that is available?”
If I had stunned the lieutenant before, it was nothing compared to the shock that I now bestowed on him. He looked at me for a few moments before he cleared his throat and rasped, “Yes sir. We have a stockade that we can put the spy in. It is empty at this time, but we can provide guards as needed.”
I smiled broadly and said, “That’s wonderful. When can we bring him here for imprisonment?”
“Well, sir, we would have to have orders allowing us to provide for the spy’s imprisonment,” he intoned in the haughty voice of a true bureaucrat.
I sighed and said, “Is your telegraph still operating?”
He nodded and replied, “Yes, it is.”
“Well, direct me to it. I need to contact Major Mosby to get ya tha orders ya need,” I stated.
He gulped and said, “Our telegraph office is at our main camp on tha north edge of town. It is where tha stockade is located also.”
“How far is it from this outpost?” I questioned.
“About a mile. Take tha road out front and follow it north. You can’t miss it,” he responded.
I picked up my hat, uncrossed my legs and stood up. The lieutenant followed suit.
I extended my hand and the lieutenant shook it in a soft grip, which was reminiscent of woman’s grasp.
Then he saluted, and I returned his salute. I turned and left the officer’s quarters without looking back.
As I walked past the sergeant’s desk, he looked up at me with an appealing glance, rose from his chair and saluted. I returned his salute. Then looking surreptitiously toward the lieutenant’s office, he motioned outside.
We walked out the door together onto the small porch. Abruptly, he turned to me and asked, “Captain, if there is any way ya could see yar way to lettin’ me join yar unit, I would appreciate it.”
I looked at him for a long moment and queried, “Why?”
He looked back toward the building and said, “I’m sick of being a nursemaid. I want to be a part of tha action.”
“If’n ya join me, ya could get yarself quickly and permanently dead. The hours are long, and the risks are many. My people are fighters and we protect each other,” I stated.
“I know Cap’n. I heared of all the scraps y’all have been in. I’m from this part of Virginny, and I know people and places that can help ya. What do ya say?” he asked like a true salesman.
“Let me think it over. I promise I will get back to ya one way or the other,” I promised. By the way, what’s yar name?” I questioned.
“It’s Richard Kirkland,” he stated.
My eyes nearly bulged out of my head. I took a gulp and mumbled to myself, “You aren’t supposed to be here.”
Kirkland inclined his head toward me, thinking I had said something to him, and asked, “I’m sorry sir, but I didn’t hear what ya said.”
I snapped out of my mental stupor and said, “Sergeant, you will definitely be hearing from me.”
He grinned from ear to ear and gave me a snappy salute. Then he walked back into the outpost.
I returned his salute and staggered down the steps to the road. Stonewall suddenly appeared in front of me, and in a trance, I mounted.
Stonewall just stood there waiting for my instructions. I looked back at the outpost and muttered, “Well, old friend. Looks like we are gonna be getting another member added to our band of brothers. Little did I know that tha Angel of Marye’s Heights was from Virginia in this universe.”