It took a while for the war news to be cussed and discussed by Mosby’s group. At long last the discussion got around to the expected arrival of a new Hager in the world. I had been dreading this conversation, but took a deep breath when Major Mosby asked, “When did Mrs. Douglas become a spiritualist?”
I was shocked by his straightforward question. It took me a few seconds before I responded, “Major, I don’t think that she has joined that freakish cabal. She stated that she only started to get visits from her deceased husband just before I arrived in Shepherdstown.”
Major Mosby looked at me for a long moment, and nodding his head, replied, “I can believe that.”
I looked at him with a confused expression. He didn’t elaborate, and I didn’t question his response.
He delicately asked, “I take it that Daphne has accepted Mrs. Douglas’ prophetic names for tha baby?”
I let out a sigh and said, “Yes, she has. I really don’t have tha belief that our baby will be a girl, but, if we do have a girl, Jamie Lee is a beautiful name. If that makes Daphne happy, then so be it.”
Major Mosby and the rest of the gentlemen nodded their agreement.
Then I added, “Ya know, Major, the old saying: If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
This brought a hearty laugh from all members of our little group. I happened to look up to see all the women staring at us. Our exuberance must have intruded on their dialogue. Daphne gave me an inquisitive look, and I just grinned sheepishly.
The ladies quickly turned back to their symposium, and our group began to discuss what was happening out west in the Indian Territories, plus New Mexico and Arizona.
I have to admit that I hadn’t kept up with the news from those areas. Mosby said that there had been a small cavalry division from El Paso that had plunged into New Mexico. The unit was commanded by General Thomas Munford, and they had marched across southern New Mexico into Arizona to take the settlement at Tucson.
I have to admit I was struck dumb. In my universe, Munford was serving with the Army of Northern Virginia and was in charge of Confederate Cavalry at the Battle of Sharpsburg, which had never occurred in the universe I presently inhabited.
I also listened to Mosby tell of Confederate General Stan Waite, who was an Cherokee Indian, leading soldiers from the Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma against Union forces that had invaded from Kansas. General Waite had achieved success in defending Oklahoma’s northern border by driving the Union invasion force back to Wichita.
Mosby must have become aware of my shocked expression with all the western war news because he asked, “Jim did ya have any questions? Ya seem to be stunned by tha developments.”
I took a few deep breaths and replied, “No, it’s just I didn’t know we had achieved such success out west.” I looked up to see everyone looking at me, so I quickly added, “It’s very gratifying.”
That must have been answer enough for them, because they all turned back to look at Mosby for more western war information.
I have to admit I tuned out the rest of the men’s conflab. In my mind I began comparing what little I remembered of the Civil War fighting in the west that had occurred in my universe with the history of what had transpired in this universe.
As I remember from my brief reading about the far west Civil War campaigns, General Waite had repelled Union forays into Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas. However, the other information about the Confederate invasion of the New Mexico territory, which included Arizona, didn’t jive with what I had understood happened. I know that, in my universe, Munford didn’t have anything to do with the Confederate far west operations.
Finally, I gave up trying to remember what I had read about during the 1862 Confederate campaigns in New Mexico and Arizona and thought I better just concentrate on what was happening in the here and now.
Mosby and the rest of our group had run out of things on which to comment, and several of the baby celebration attendees were beginning to take their leave by going to Daphne and wishing her well. Then they descended on me, and it seemed that I shook hands for hours, but it was only a few minutes.
All of a sudden, the parlor was empty except for Daphne, Mrs. Douglas, Willie and me. Even the servant ladies and Anna were in other parts of the house attending to the packaging of food stuffs for depositing in the coolness of the cellar, plus the cleaning of dishes.
The four of us grabbed seats in the parlor, and I believe in a few moments, were all napping or about to go to sleep after a busy morning of celebrating and fellowship.
Daphne and I were on a two person sofa. I had put my arm around her, and she had laid her head on my chest. Just before I drifted off into the land of dreams, I looked down on her beautiful face and uttered a quick prayer of thanks for all my blessings.
Daphne gave a deep sigh and squeezed my chest. After a few seconds, all I heard was her heavy breathing.