Civil War Transcendence, part 431

I held on for dear life as Stonewall executed one of his tremendous leaps and began galloping down the side street. As I passed by the side of the Throckmorton house, I saw that Al had dismounted and was at the Throckmorton back door. I yelled, “Get to the telegraph office and send a telegraph to Major Murphy in Martinsburg to patrol the road to Williamsport and stop anyone on a black stallion trying to cross the Potomac.”

Al yelled, “Will do!”

I kept Stonewall at an easy lope as I weaved my way through the town traffic and headed out Duke Street to the north. I figured that Throckmorton left at least 30 to 45 minutes ago and was riding like the wind toward Williamsport where he could cross the Potomac and head into Pennsylvania.

As I exited the town to the north, I nudged Stonewall into a gallop. He stretched out his legs and went into hyper-drive.  I let him run to his heart’s content for a few miles. Then I gently applied the reins and brought him into a fast walk. He was breathing pretty hard, so I let him walk until he got his wind back. At that point, I nudged him again and we were off like the wind. I did this a few more times until we hit the old highway that ran through the Shenandoah Valley all the way to Williamsport, Maryland.

During our jaunt we hadn’t seen hide nor hair of the elusive Throckmorton. I remember the black stallion that had been housed in Mr. Heintz livery stable in Shepherdstown, but I never had an inkling it belonged to Throckmorton.

About a mile after joining the Valley Pike, as we came around a bend in the road, I spied an abandoned black stallion by the side the road with its weight distributed on only three legs while favoring its right front leg. The stallion was still breathing hard, but there was no sign of Throckmorton.

Hoping that Throckmorton hadn’t procured other means of travel, I nudged Stonewall forward into a gallop. However, in just a few hundred yards, I viewed an open carriage with three occupants headed north toward the Potomac Crossing at Williamsport. One of the occupants was seated with his back to me and had taken off his hat. Throckmorton’s bald head was undeniably identifiable.

Throckmorton had made one mistake when he entered the carriage. He couldn’t see the road to the rear of the carriage. Taking advantage of his faux pas, I pulled a Colt from my belt with my right hand, leaned low over the saddle and directed Stonewall to utilize the grassy shoulder of the road so our approached would be muffled instead of a loud clippity-clop on the hard road bed.

I made it almost to the back of the carriage before Throckmorton turned around and saw me. He knelt down on his seat, leaned over the back of the carriage, pulled a small derringer from his vest pocket, aimed it at me and pulled the

trigger. I kneed Stonewall with my right knee, and he veered to the right just as I felt the wind from Throckmorton’s bullet whiz pass my left ear. I raised my Colt high in the air and fired two quick shots. The noise had the effect that I had hoped. The carriage horses shot forward and Throckmorton was hurled over the back of the seat. He landed in the middle of the road and rolled over a few times before coming to a halt.

We went past Throckmorton’s form like a bolt of lightning. So, I gently reined Stonewall around to go back to the site of the smack down.

I kept my Colt aimed at Throckmorton as Stonewall walked up to the villain.

Throckmorton was a lucky man. Although still lying in the middle of the road, he was moaning and holding his right arm. Most people would have had their neck broken with such a fall from a moving carriage.

Keeping Throckmorton in my sights, I dismounted and walked toward the master spy. As I got close to him, he suddenly pulled his derringer from the inside of his coat and was bringing it up to aim at me, when I kicked the pistol from his hand. I heard a snapping sound and Throckmorton howled like a she-wolf from the pain.

Feeling no pity for this traitor and killer by proxy, I smiled at his distress.

I grabbed the miniscule mole and hauled him to his feet which brought another howl of pain from the munchkin.  I quickly searched him for other weapons, which produced a long bowie knife in a sheath stuck in his belt at the small of his back.

Just as I relieved Throckmorton of the last of his armament, I heard in the distance the sound of many horses coming from the south. Since this area was sort of a no-man’s land, it could be either Rebs or Yanks.

Even though Throckmorton was in pain, he gave a chuckle indicating that he thought it would be Yanks. I immediately put my Colt to his head and cocked the hammer.

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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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