It took us an hour to get the prisoners disarmed and their names copied plus interrogated. We gleaned a lot of good information from the questioning.
Once this process was completed, the prisoners were utilized to dig graves for the Yanks and Rebs. We held a combined Union and Confederate service for the departed, culminating in the singing of ‘Rock of Ages’ by everyone present.
Sergeant Kirkland, being the best organizational whiz I had ever encountered, had all our horses ready for travel back to the Confederate camp near Shepherdstown. He also had borrowed some wagons from the local residents for transportation of our seriously wounded.
We bid farewell to Major Murphy and his men about dark and began our trek back to Shepherdstown. It didn’t take us too long before we were back at the Confederate camp.
I was surprised to find Major Mosby when we arrived. He immediately ushered me and Sergeant Kirkland into his temporary headquarters tent for debriefing. I related the day’s operation and Sergeant added the portions that dealt with his actions.
As usual, Major Mosby didn’t interrupt our reports until we had conveyed all that we could remember about our mission.
When we were finished, the Major looked at the floor of the tent for a few moments and then, looking up at Kirkland and me, stated, “That was some good soldiering by both of you and Major Murphy. Y’all acted immediately to the Yankee threat, and not only shattered their mission, ya killed, wounded or captured their entire contingent. I’m gonna recommend both of ya for commendations to Colonel Daniels.”
I looked shocked at the Major’s declaration and turned to look at Kirkland. He was grinning from ear to ear.
I had to smile at his enthusiasm. I reasoned that this was his first engagement and he was proud of his success in ‘Seeing the Elephant’.
The Major stood and we followed suite. He extended his hand to Kirkland and said, “I will forward the necessary papers to Headquarters in Richmond to have you transferred to our regiment.” They shook hands and Mosby added, “If you will allow Captain Hager and me to have a brief conversation, you are dismissed.”
Then he bellowed, “Corporal, have a tent erected for Sergeant Kirkland.”
The Corporal yelled back, “At once, Major,” and scampered off to the quartermaster.
Sergeant Kirkland saluted and was beaming with a young man’s pride of having passed his first test of manhood.
Major Mosby returned the salute, and Kirkland vacated the tent.
Mosby sat down, waited a few moments for Kirkland to get out of earshot and asked, “How on the spur of the moment did ya happen to choose Kirkland to add to our flock?”
I chuckled and answered, “Let’s just say that I had an inclination that he was a soldier that we could count on.”
Mosby narrowed his gaze at me and stated, “Well, ya have good judgment of talent and character. I’m thinking of seeing if I can get Kirkland promoted to Lieutenant and made my second in command. I need a good organizer and fighter.”
I smiled and said, “Well, ya better keep him busy, because he was chomping at the bit to get into some fighting and away from the desk job he was assigned to. He is a natural born leader, and I think he already is viewed by the men with awe.”
“How so?” queried Mosby.
I related the incident of Kirkland’s taming of his horse, Rowdy.
This peaked Mosby’s interest and he said, “I would have enjoyed witnessing that feat. Thanks for adding that bit of information.”
We sat in awkward silence for a moment and then Mosby said, “Oh yes, I had a new telegraph machine delivered to me, and I had it connected to the lines at the old telegraph office in town. We found a trooper that had telegraph experience, and we are now in communication with Martinsburg, Harpers Ferry and Richmond. As a precaution, I have an armed guard stationed at the telegraph office at all times.”
I uttered with great exuberance, “Awesome!”
Mosby looked at me in surprise.
I quickly amended, “I mean, that’s wonderful”