Civil War Transcendence, part 414

Being very hard pressed and outnumbered, my men were starting to fall back from our battle line when I heard a new sound. It was the thunder of horse hooves. It caught everyone’s attention. All fighting stopped as all eyes turned toward the new resonance.

Suddenly a whole line of Confederate cavalry broke from the woods to our rear and began to warble the Rebel Yell. The result of their appearance created a mixed bag of reactions. Some Yanks ran back across the road to the woods from which they had launched their attack. Others dropped their weapons and raised their hands in surrender. A few took potshots at our line of reinforcements and were soon either killed or wounded.

I saw Major Murphy as he rode by us and led his men into the trees after the retreating enemy. I heard some more firing and then silence ensued.

A few minutes passed before a gaggle of Yanks were herded from the woods into the dirt road that once was the no-man’s land between our opposing forces.

Sergeant Kirkland had almost immediately organized our men into parties that were disarming the surrendered Yanks, tending to the wounded, and gathering scattered weaponry.

When Major Murphy came across the road, I yelled at him and he directed his horse in my direction.  As he rode toward me, I saluted and declared, “Major, yar a sight for sore eyes.”

He returned my salute and stated, “I’m sorry, Captain, that it took so long to get here. We got on a wrong road for a while, but we picked up a guide, who directed us here. Ya’ve had a hard fight on yar hands this day.”

I smiled and replied, “But we got tha job done.”

He grinned and added, “That we did, Captain. That we did.”

In a curious vein I asked, “How many troopers did ya bring?”

“’bout forty,” he responded.

Pointing to the Yank’s woods, I inquired, “Did ya get all the Yanks that retreated in thar?”

“Yep, we did. There were a few that didn’t wanna give up, but they are now mortified souls and gone to meet their maker,” he told me.

“Then we’ve make a clean sweep of the whole Yank patrol,” I mused.

“I ‘pect we did,” he added thoughtfully.

“Whacha gonna do with the prisoners?” I asked.

“I’ll take ‘em and imprison them at our garrison until they can be exchanged,” he informed me.

I nodded and said, “I’m gonna transport my wounded and dead back to Shepherdstown. I’ll make my report to Major Mosby. Who is your immediate superior that ya’ll be reporting to?”

“Colonel Daniels at Harpers Ferry,” he stated.

I grinned and said, “I know tha Colonel very well. Why don’t cha let me write my report to Major Mosby and share it with ya? That way we can get the story of our mission straight before we submit them to our commanders.”

The Major smiled and said, “That sounds like a very good idea, Captain.”

I smiled and added, “I’ll write my report tonight and get it to ya tomorrow.”

The Major nodded and reached his hand down toward me. I immediately shook his hand. He added, “Captain, I asked for some action and you were Johnnie on the Spot with it. I ‘spect I’ll keep in touch with ya, ‘cause it seems fighting just follows ya around.”

I chuckled and said, “I’ve been told that on numerous occasions by my wife.”

The Major laughed and gave me a salute, which I returned. Then he rode off to tend to his men.

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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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