Civil War Transcendence, part 446

Both men’s eyes got as big as saucers. They looked at each other and then back at me. The quizzical expression on their faces asked for more information.

I held up my hands with my palms outward and said, “That’s all I can tell ya at tha present time, but let me add that this mission really could change history.”

I let the importance of our task sink in and then I added, “We are going to be riding down tha C & O Canal path toward Washington City. Thar are seven Union check points along tha path that we will have to either go-around or bluff our way through. To allay suspicion we can’t be armed to tha teeth. So, only bring two pistols and four extra loaded cylinders.”

I stopped to let them register what I said. Then I began again, “We have to perform tha destruction during tha night. Since tha White House is next to tha Treasury, we’re gonna kidnap Lincoln and let him watch his Treasury building burn down.”

I took a deep breath and continued, “Tha distance from across tha Potomac here at Shepherdstown to Georgetown is about 75 miles. I want to start tha journey at night and end it at night, so we’ll leave tomorrow night and head south. I figure it will take us three nights of travel ‘cause we’re gonna hide during the day. As far as food, bring enough food for three days. I’ll fill y’all in with more information when we get on tha road. So let’s meet here tomorrow night at 8 ‘o’clock.”

The men were still in shock with the enormity of the mission and were still trying to process the information I had bestowed. Almost absentmindedly they nodded, rose from their seats like zombies and filed out.

I took a few moments to completely douse the fire in the fireplace and make sure all the windows were closed and locked. I took one more look at the interior of the schoolhouse. Being a teacher to the wonderful young men and women of the region had been one of the highlights of my life. I sighed and closed the door.

When I walked out on the porch, Stonewall was standing at the bottom of the porch steps looking at me. I climbed down the steps and walked over to him. He immediately placed his forehead against my chest, and I began our massage ritual.

Once he was in his meditative trance, I said, “I don’t know how this mission is gonna turn out. So, I wanted to say that it has been a privilege to know ya and for us to be pards. Ya have saved my life on numerous occasions, and I just wanted to thank ya for all ya’ve done for me.”

When I finished, Stonewall gently raised his head and, putting his mouth against my cheek, moved his lips in what I would describe as a kiss. Tears ran down my cheeks as I hugged his neck.  He whinnied in response.

I stood back and looked at him. It struck me, all of a sudden, that he was the epitome of the horse I had dreamed of riding when I was a kid and wanted to be a cowboy hero like Gene Autry, Roy Rogers or Hop-along Cassidy.

Stonewall made a sound that was what I would call a snicker.

I looked at him for a long moment. Then I put my foot in his left stirrup and mounted. All I said was, “Ferry Hill.”

He trotted out of the school yard and headed home.

When we got to the Ferry Hill stables, I found John Lee and gave Stonewall to him. As they were walking away, Stonewall looked back at me and snickered again. I don’t know what he was trying to tell me, but it was something I needed to understand.

I turned, walked to the backdoor and entered the famed mansion. There was some sort of merriment going on in the right parlor. I took off my coat and hung it on the hall coatrack. I decided to keep my pistols stuck in my belt.

As I walked into the parlor, I came to an abrupt halt.

Mr. Newcomer and Mrs. Newcomer were sitting on the two-seat divan with cups in their hands. Daphne rose from a chair opposite her parents, set down her cup on a small table, and came to me.

“Jim, Momma and Poppa came to see us. They heard they were gonna be grandparents and wanted to see us,” she explained.

I looked at her and nodded, but I was glad that I hadn’t left my pistols in the hall.

Mr. Newcomer rose from his chair, looked at Daphne and me, and awkwardly stammered, “I wanna apologize for all tha trouble I’ve caused Daphne and ya. I was wrong and I, ah….”

Running out of things to say, he looked back at Mrs. Newcomer for guidance.

Mrs. Newcomer took up where he left off and said, “We’re sorry for how we have treated ya. Please accept our heartfelt apology.”

I smiled at the couple and nodded my acceptance.

They both smiled.

I looked at Daphne and she let out a breath she had been holding and smiled also.


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Civil War Transcendence, part 445

After my rather ominous warnings and the requirement of the mission’s acceptance without further specifics, both men looked at each other in stunned silence. Then they looked at me as if to say, “Are you serious?”

I looked at both men in turn with a very stern expression. I could see they understood I was telling the truth about the danger and the various mission scenarios that could occur.

Lieutenant Kirkland was the first to give voice to his answer. He chuckled and remarked, “Well, it beats having to fill out daily reports and take troops on patrol.”

Caleb looked from Kirkland to me and said, “I don’t think that I could leave Momma right now. Joshua is just now recovering from tha beating he took, and she needs me to help with tha farming. If I didn’t have such responsibilities, I would jump at tha chance. Sorry, Jim.”

I said with a smile, “Don’t be apologizing. I understand completely. Ya are needed by yar family, and they come first. Take care and give my love to Ma Throckmorton and Joshua.”

I stood and so did Caleb. We shook hands and he left.

I looked at Kirkland and said, “Well, I guess it’s up to us to do this.”

He grinned and was just about to answer when the door to the schoolhouse opened and in walked Al Madigan.

You could have knocked me over with a feather. I had such a surprised look on my face that Al actually laughed. Then he said, “Jim, I don’t know what yar up to, but I could tell that me and Hattie getting hitched caused ya to forego whatever ya had come to talk about. So ya can count me in on whatever it is.”

I was at a loss for words, but I recovered quickly and said, “Al, if’n I got ya killed before ya married Hattie, she’d probably shoot me on sight.”

“Naw she wouldn’t. I talked it over with her and she knows something important is brewing or else ya wouldn’t have come to see me,” he declared. “So ya better let me in on it because I got her talked into jining ya right now, but if’n I went back to her tonite, she’d never let me leave until we met tha preacher.”

I grinned, and we heartily shook hands.

Al sat down, and I gave him the same warnings and the “no specifics” speech that I gave Kirkland and Caleb. He whistled and said, “I knew it was big, but I didn’t figure it was that big. Yeah, ya can count me in.”

I looked at both men and said, “This is going to be a real strange mission, so before we go any further, there has to be two conditions.”

Both men looked at me with a questioning expression on their faces.

I declared, “Y’all can’t wear uniforms on this mission and we can’t address each other by our military designation. Which means that if’n we are caught, we are on our own and we will be treated as spies.”

Kirkland nodded and said, “I kinda thought it would be something like that.”

Al just nodded and smiled.

I nodded at their acceptance of the conditions of the mission and stated, “Well, we’re gonna burn down tha Treasury building in Washington City.”

Both men looked at me as if I was crazy. Kirkland was the first to speak, “How is burning down tha Treasury Building gonna end tha War?”

Both men looked at me for a plausible explanation.

I grinned and said, “Because of what kind of fire we use to burn down tha building and who is going to be witnessing its destruction.”

The men’s brows furrowed in bewilderment.

I smiled and said, “Ole Abe is gonna witness tha destruction, and tha source of tha fire is something that hasn’t been seen on this Earth for almost two thousand years.”





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Civil War Transcendence, part 444

Kirkland and I both jumped when Caleb barged through the front door of the schoolhouse.

I came out of my chair into a crouch with a Colt in my right hand. The Lieutenant tried to get out of his confining desk, but was ensconced so completely that he finally stopped struggling and looked to see who had entered.

Caleb halted his forward progress when he saw what his entrance had caused and raised his hands.

I stood up, put away my pistol and said, “Hello, Caleb. Sorry for tha fearsome welcome.”

He grinned and lowered his hands.

I pointed at Lt. Kirkland and said, “Meet Lieutenant Richard Kirkland.”

I turned to Lt. Kirkland and said, “Meet Caleb Throckmorton.”

Kirkland was finally able to extricate himself from the school desk, walk over to Caleb and shake his hand.

I walked to Caleb and remarked, “I guess ya heard about yar uncle?”

Caleb looked at the floor and nodded.

I added, “I’m sorry it had to be me to discover his spying activity.”

Caleb looked up and said, “I’m glad it was ya that uncovered his treason. He caused ya enough trouble to last a lifetime, plus he was indirectly responsible for my father’s death. Momma was shocked when we heard tha news, but once she got to thinking about it, she remembered a few incidences over tha last few years that seemed really odd. I don’t know if ya knew it or not, but Dad and he were never really close.”

I nodded and remarked, “He’s in custody at tha Martinsburg Garrison. I dare say that he’ll be transferred to Harpers Ferry in tha near future for trial by tha military. To be truthful, I believe he will be found guilty, and either hung or shot by firing squad.”

Caleb nodded and said in a low voice, “I expected as much.”

To break the somber mood, I said, “Why don’t we sit down?  I want to talk to y’all about a mission.”

I brought my chair closer to the fireplace and motioned to Kirkland that he should sit there. I took over Kirkland’s desk, and Caleb pulled up a desk for himself.

Once we were all seated in a semi-circle in front of the fireplace, I sat in the middle with my head bowed. Finally after about thirty seconds, I looked up and said, “I really don’t know where to start.”

The men looked at me apprehensively, but didn’t say a word. So I began, “This is a very secret mission. In fact, most of tha chief military leaders don’t know anything about it.”

The men gave me looks of shock and confusion.

I hurried on, “I need to tell ya that this mission could end up being a complete failure and getting all of us killed. Or, it could be successful and mean tha end of tha War and our Country’s Liberty. Those are tha two extremes with a lot of variable results that could also occur based upon random circumstances. I have gathered y’all together because I trust ya. But I have to know if ya will volunteer without me going any farther in explanation, because tha specific facts can’t be disclosed without yar agreeing to participate in tha mission.”

I quit talking and waited for their responses.




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Civil War Transcendence, part 443

Lieutenant Kirkland looked at me for a long time and then said, “It must be dangerous.”

“Very,” I retorted.

He smiled and said, “Sounds promising.”

I didn’t smile when I remarked, “We’ll see. Ya might change yar mind once ya understand tha mission.”

The Lieutenant raised his eyebrows and stared at me intently. Then he inquired, “What are we waiting for?”

“Our third member,” I answered. Before he could interrogate me further, I added, “He should be here by late afternoon.”

The Lieutenant nodded.

“Why don’t we go down into town to wait?” I suggested.

“That sounds good.”

The Lieutenant got his horse, and we walked around the house to the stables. Once we entered the building, John Lee got up and walked toward us. He and Lt. Kirkland began to walk Kirkland’s horse to the end of the barn to procure feed and water for the animal.

I walked to Stonewall’s stall and said, “I need ya for an important mission.”

I didn’t hear a sound from the enclosure so I added, “I mean it.”

Not a sound came from the stall so I played my last card and said, “Alright, I’ll take Miss Dixie Belle instead.”

This definitely provoked a response. First a loud whinny erupted from the depths of the stall, which was followed by Stonewall butting the upper stall door open with his head. He moved to where his head was jutting out of the door opening and fixed me with what I would describe as an ears-laid back angry stare. Then he let out a disapproving snort and shook his head from side to side.

I smiled and disclosed, “I want ya in on this from tha start. We won’t be doing too much today, but we will be in tha near future.”

Stonewall nodded his head, and I administered his usual massage. He went into his meditative trance. I happened to turn and see John Lee and Lt. Kirkland standing stock still and looking at us as if we had grown two heads. They must have returned and witnessed some, if not all, my conversation with Stonewall.

There wasn’t much I could say, so I just smiled and remarked, “It isn’t what it seems.”

John Lee just shook his head and put Kirkland’s horse in a stall. Then he distributed oats and hay in a feed trough for the cayuse. Kirkland continued to watch Stonewall and me for a while. Then he said, “Y’all really have a rapport that is amazing.”

I answered, “Yes, we do. I don’t know how we connected, but we did.”

I turned to John Lee and asked, “Has Stonewall been watered and fed?”

John Lee answered, “He was watered and fed when he came back.”

I nodded and began to saddle Stonewall. While clinching the saddle, Stonewall turned his head back toward me and nipped me on my rear. I jumped and Stonewall let out what I would call a horse laugh. I put my hands on my hips and gave him a disgusted look, but this only resulted in another horse laugh. Suddenly John Lee began to laugh.

I turned to look at him and asked, “Did ya see what he did?”

John Lee nodded and kept on laughing. Finally, I caught the humor in the incident and began to laugh also. Kirkland, who was in the stall with his horse, came out to see what all the laughter was about. When he saw each of us laughing in his own way, he just shook his head and went back in the stall with Rowdy, his horse.

Once we got back to normal, Kirkland and I rode to my old schoolhouse in Shepherdstown. We dismounted, and after he tied Rowdy’s reins to a tree, we entered the old one room seat of education for this small burg. There was still some wood on the fireplace hearth, so we utilized it to make a fire in the fireplace. Thirty minutes later we had the building warm as toast.

Finally, Lt. Kirkland asked, “When are ya gonna tell me what this is all about?”

I rejoined, “As soon as our third member is here. I don’t want to repeat myself. So we’re gonna wait on him before I spill tha beans.”

Kirkland shrugged, pulled one of the desks closer to the fire, sat down and dozed off.

I smiled, sat at my old teacher’s desk, and in a few moments, I was in the Land of Nod myself.

It seemed as if just a few moments had passed before the front door of the schoolhouse opened.

Caleb Throckmorton walked in.


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Civil War Transcendence, part 442

The next morning, Daphne and I, plus Tom and Lt. Pelham, sent the four young Iadies on their journey to Staunton. It seems that Tom and Lt. Pelham were very taken with the two ladies they spent time with at last night’s dinner. Addresses were exchanged and promises of visits were vowed. The ladies’ carriage and additional wagon of luggage left Ferry Hill about 9:00 am.

After the ladies were on their merry way, I sent a courier to fetch Caleb from the Throckmorton farm on River Road.

During the rest of the morning, Daphne and I spent time together in the parlor. We participated in a game of sorts. Entering the left parlor, which also acted as a home library, each of us chose a poetry book we enjoyed. Then we sat on the two- person sofa and took turns reading our favorite passages to each other.

My initial reading was Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How Do I Love Thee”. Daphne’s was Part 1 of “The Lady of Shalott” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. It proved to be a very wonderful and restful morning entertainment.

At 12:30 pm, Anna announced that lunch was ready, and we went into the dining room. Mrs. Douglas, who had left about 9:30 am for the Shepherdstown market to procure food stuffs for the household, had returned. Willie had accompanied her and was allowed to seat on the carriage driver’s seat with John Lee and manage the carriage horses, but with John Lee’s able assistance.

Anna and the servant ladies joined us, and we had a good discussion about the four young ladies who stayed at Ferry Hill on their way to Staunton. By this time, everyone was accustomed to speaking their minds without any worry about repercussions. I glanced at Daphne when Anna described the way one of the young ladies was always in a tizzy. She was smiling and nodding her head in agreement. I happened to add, “Where I come from, tha lady would be known as a ‘Drama Queen’.”

Everyone at the table looked at me for a long moment. I guess they were thinking about the 21st century jargon I had laid on ‘em. Finally, Daphne said, “Ya know, Jim, ya never cease to amaze me with some of yar vernacular.”

Mrs. Douglas added, “That’s tha truth. Sometimes yar speech seems to come from another age.”

I just smiled at the ladies’ assessments and thought, “Y’all don’t know tha half of it.”

After lunch Daphne, Mrs. Douglas, Anna and the servant ladies went into another of their close-door conferences dealing with our move to the cottage in town.

I meandered to the stables and saw John Lee at the other end of the stable. He waved at me, and I walked to where he was working on a harness for the carriage team. As I got close to him, I heard a familiar whinny. I opened the top door to Stonewall’s stall, and my faithful steed stuck his head out. I immediately started rubbing his forehead, nose and ears. He instantly went into his meditative state.

I looked at John Lee and asked, “When did ya get ‘im back?”

John Lee answered, “We got ‘im back just ‘bout an hour ago. He mated with tha mare that we hoped he would. If’n tha mating takes, then tha mare should have a foal in about a year.”

Looking over what I could see of Stonewall’s body, I announced, “Well, he doesn’t look any tha worse for wear.”

John Lee chuckled and said, “Ya should have seen ‘im when he got back. He was plum worn out. I ‘spect that filly put ‘im through his paces.”

I started laughing, and John Lee joined in. We raised such a ruckus that Stonewall came out of his trance and looked at each of us in turn. I think he knew we were laughing at his expense, because he did something that I had never seen him do. There was a small rope nailed to the inside of the upper door of his stall. He backed deeper in his stall, grasped the rope in his teeth and pulled the upper door shut. Then he whinnied what seemed a reproachful answer to our laughter.

John Lee and I looked at each other and raised our eyebrows. Stonewall’s intelligence never ceased to amaze me.

I went back to the house just in time to see Lt. Kirkland ride into the lane leading to the house. Once he was near the front door, he dismounted and tied his horse to the ring in a statute by the front porch. I hastened to him and he saluted, which I returned. Then we shook hands.

Never one to bandy words, he immediately asked, “What’s so urgent that ya wanted me here today?”

I smiled and retorted, “In good time Lieutenant, in good time.”




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Civil War Transcendence, part 441

By the time I got back to Ferry Hill by way of the hidden path it was just about 9:00 pm, which is the time I had told John Lee I would return. I dismounted Miss Dixie Belle at the back of the mansion. By this time I had shortened her name to Dixie for convenience sake, and gave her reins to John Lee.

He asked, “How did she do?”

I smiled and said, “Just great. I really enjoyed her company.”

John Lee smiled and Dixie nudged me gently with her nose before she was led into the stables.

I walked to the backdoor of the mansion and entered. There was some kind of affair going on in the parlor. As I approached the large room, I heard a familiar voice say, “We just got back from Nawth Carolina and was it a real show.”

I hurried to the parlor door, stopped and surveyed Daphne’s oldest brother, Tom, surrounded by four young ladies, Daphne, Mrs. Douglas, Willie Douglas and Lieutenant Pelham. I felt such joy at seeing the familiar faces, and I could see the two Lieutenants were overjoyed to congregate with the four rather beautiful young ladies. How Daphne got the four young ladies assembled in such a short period to meet her brother and Lt. Pelham was another of her social engineering feats.

Tom happened to turn and see me in the doorway and hurried forward. We shook hands and then hugged like long lost brothers. Lt. Pelham advanced and we shook hands also. We all moved to the rest of the gathering. Daphne suddenly was in my arms and we hugged. Then she introduced the four ladies who were in her tutoring classes back in Philadelphia. They were staying the night and then moving on to Staunton, Virginia in the morning. I also greeted Mrs. Douglas with a hug and shook Willie’s hand.

Anna entered the room and announced, “Dinner is served.”

We all moved to the dining room and were seated for a formal evening meal. As usual, the conversation was on the war and its effect on the populace and the army. Tom and Lt. Pelham were a part of the cavalry unit that had been assigned to General Jeb Stuart’s corps. They hadn’t been in any real fighting yet, but it seemed that Burnside was going to move toward Atlanta any day now.

After the War news was discussed, the two officers revealed they were here on a short leave. Tom had invited Lt. Pelham to spend his leave here in northern Virginia, and Pelham had accepted. By the attention that the blonde, long-haired young lady sitting next to Pelham was paying to him, I don’t think he regretted his decision. Plus, Tom was having a great time wooing a beautiful, red-headed petite young lady, who was playing a coquettish game with him.

After dinner, the party moved to the parlor and partook of some light brandy aperitifs. At about 11:00pm the party broke up with the young ladies retiring to two bedrooms upstairs. The Lieutenants returned to the Confederate camp near the Potomac Bridge. Mrs. Douglas and Willie retired to Mrs. Douglas’ bedroom upstairs. Daphne and I occupied the parlor for the night.

Once we had closed the door to the hallway, we undressed and got into our night clothes. Then Daphne came to me and treated me to one of her rib-crusting hugs. After a few seconds, I picked her up and carried her to the large chaise lounge, which was our bed for the night. She giggled the whole way. Lying her down on the comfortable couch, I snuggled in next to her and we pulled the blankets up to protect against the night chill.

We faced each other, and she suddenly wrapped her arms around my neck and said fervently, “I love ya so much. Thank ya for being my husband.”

I was so overcome by emotion that I couldn’t reply immediately. I just pulled her to me and we melted into each other so deeply that we could feel each other’s heartbeat.

Finally, I was able to say, “Ya are my precious wife and my reason for living. I am still in awe that ya married me. I love ya with all my heart.”

We both lay there in each other’s grasp for what seemed like an eternity of joy.

Finally, Daphne said, “I always thought it would be rather naughty, but enjoyable to initiate a chaise lounge into a conjugal bed.”

I replied, “My thoughts exactly.”

She giggled, and we blew out the candles on the table behind the chaise lounge.


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Civil War Transcendence, part 440

The Elves left the conference by suddenly disappearing.

Jim shook his head and muttered, “I could really use that disappearing act of theirs. Wish I had the ability.”

Leaving the schoolhouse, Jim called to Miss Dixie Belle. She trotted over to him. He patted her neck, mounted and gave a clicking noise. She began a smooth forward trot, and Jim directed her toward the telegraph office using only his knees.

Once at the front of the telegraph office, Jim dismounted and opened the door. The cavalry telegraph operator, whom Jim had never seen before, looked up, saw Jim, immediately stood and saluted.

Jim returned the salute and asked, “Ya know where Lt. Kirkland is?”

The telegraph operator answered, “Sir, I understand he’s in Harpers Ferry.”

Jim nodded and said, “Please send him a request to come to Shepherdstown as quickly as possible.”

The telegraph operator nodded, sat down and immediately began to send the message. Once it was sent, an almost immediate response indicated he would be on the road tomorrow.

Jim grinned and stated, “Lt. Kirkland must have had tha outpost duty today.” Nodding to the telegraph operator, he said, “Thank ya for yar assistance.”

He left the 19th century’s answer to a telephone and mounted Miss Dixie Belle. Jim directed her to Hattie’s place.

Riding into the yard in front of Hattie’s kitchen, Jim saw Al’s horse tied up to the front porch. Dismounting, Jim gently rubbed Miss Dixie Belle’s nose and forehead. Then he mounted the porch steps and entered the house.

Al and Hattie were sitting at the dining room table drinking coffee and gawking at each other like two love-sick turtle doves.

Jim couldn’t help smiling at the two and was really glad they had grown so close to each other so quickly. The two friends looked up at Jim without the least bit of embarrassment and smiled.

Hattie pointed to the cups and the coffee pot on the hearth and said, “Why don’t ya join us?”

Jim nodded back and said, “Don’t mind if I do.”

Once Jim had poured some coffee in a tin cup, he sat down next to Al and took a sip of the hot savory liquid.

Al inquired, “What’s up?”

Jim smiled and remarked, “Y’all sure have hit it off big time.”

Al smiled and Hattie grinned sheepishly. Then Al uttered in quick succession, “We’re gonna be married. Ya wanna be my best man?”

Jim sat up straight, grinned from ear-to-ear and returned, “Well congratulations y’all”.

Turning to Al, he said, “I would be honored to be yar best man.”

Jim shook Al’s hand and kissed Hattie on the cheek.  Suddenly a jug of hard cider appeared and the three close friends drank a toast to the coming wedding.

After a few drafts, the couple sat down and faced Jim across the dining room table. Jim broached the next logical question, “When y’all going to tie tha knot?”

Hattie piped up, “Two weeks from Sunday at the Lutheran Church.”

Jim nodded and said, “Wonderful. Well, I just dropped by to see ya, since I ain’t seen ya for a while. I ‘spect I better get on tha way and spread tha wonderful news to tha folks at Ferry Hill.”

Hattie and Al walked Jim to the door and waved goodbye as he rode off on Miss Dixie Belle.

Jim muttered to himself, “Now who can I get to ride with us?” Almost immediately Caleb Throckmorton’s name popped in his mind. Jim nodded his head and said, “Yes, he’ll do. I need to contact him as soon as I can.”




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Civil War Transcendence, part 439

Kann Mer Ray looked at Jim for a long time before he said, “I don’t want to get into a theological discussion with you, but, suffice it to say, he is who you would refer to as Jehovah.”

Jim stared wide-eyed at Kann Mer Ray and then turned to look at San Cirr Ray, who was viewing Jim with the hint of a smile.

Jim looked back at Kann Mer Ray and stammered, “Ah, ah, okay, if ya say so.”

San Cirr Ray offered, “Why don’t ya have a seat?”

Jim nodded absent-mindedly and, walking around the front of his desk as if in a trance, sat down. He blinked a few times, looked up at the two Elves and asked, “Please tell me y’all aren’t messing with tha mind of a poor dumb earthling.”

Kann Mer Ray grinned and San Cirr Ray giggled. “No, we aren’t ‘messing with your mind,’ as you earthlings say. It is the truth.”

Jim looked down at the desk for a moment, swept some of the dust away with his hand, stood up and said, “It’s a deal.”

The two Elves smiled. Kann Mer Ray said, “Well, I guess the next move is to get some of your Confederate cavalry commanders to allow the use of their troops for the foray.”

Jim looked at the two Elves and said, “Maybe we don’t need a whole bunch of men riding pell mell back and forth on tha C & O Canal Path. Maybe we just need a handful.”

Expressions of curiosity suddenly appeared on the elven faces. Kann Mer Ray questioned, “How so?”

Jim grinned at the two fellow conspirators. “Maybe three men could do tha job easier than a whole contingency of cavalry.”

“Sounds interesting. Who did you have in mind?” said Kann Mer Ray.

“Al Madigan, Sergeant Kirkland and myself.”

“Why do you believe they would like to be in on such a dangerous mission?” inquired San Cirr Ray.

“Well, Al has always followed me on all my weird escapades. Sergeant Kirkland would go because it beats sitting in camp doing nothing. And I would need to be along as tha dispenser of tha weapon,” stated Jim.

Kann Mer Ray started to open his mouth, but Jim held up his hand and said, “I know ya want to do a mind sweep on tha men. But, if tha mission is a success, why don’t ya perform a surgical mind sweep? We could pat ‘em on tha back without lettin ‘em really knowing how tha mission was accomplished.”

Kan Merr Ray and San Cirr Ray turned to each other for a telepathic conversation. After about a minute they turned back to Jim and said, “Okay, but how can you get your Commander to go along with it?”

“We don’t tell them about it. We kidnap Lincoln and make him witness the destruction of the Treasury Building. After the demonstration we tell him that, unless he sues for peace, this weapon will be unleashed on his armies and naval vessels. Then we let him go,” answered Jim.

The two Elves looked at Jim for a very long time and then communicated telepathically for an even longer time. Finally, Kann Mer Ray turned back toward Jim and said, “It isn’t feasible.”

“What If we give Lincoln a three day ultimatum to contact tha Confederacy before the weapon is deployed?” suggested Jim.

“The Confederate President will not know what President Lincoln is talking about,” argued San Cirr Ray.

“Well, we really don’t know if Lincoln will sue for peace. However, if y’all will monitor Lincoln closely, ya can find out how he is going to react. Then, if he is going to contact President Davis in regard to a peace proposal, then one of ya can appear in a dream or in a vision to President Davis and explain just enough to let him know that Lincoln is going to contact him,” Jim proposed.

Kann Mer Ray and San Cirr Ray looked at Jim with an awed expression.

Kann Mer Ray finally broke the silence. “That’s brilliant.”

San Cirr Ray walked toward Jim with open arms.

Jim backed away, “Just a hand shake is adequate.”

Kann Mer Ray laughed, and San Cirr Ray giggled.

Jim just shook his head.

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Civil War Transcendence, part 438

Kann Mer Ray said rather solemnly, “Do you know the amount of havoc and destruction that this weapon has caused the human civilization?”

Jim stood and came around the desk to face the two Elven creatures. Looking at them with a perplexed expression on his face, he answered, “No, I’m afraid I have no idea. Tha weapon was utilized in ancient times and tha formula for its creation has been lost for centuries.”

Kann Mer Ray declared, “And rightly so.”

Greek Fire used as a flame thrower


Jim looked at Kann Mer Ray for a long moment and then stated, rather than asked, “Yar people were responsible for it eradication.”

San Cirr Ray nods and adds, “And for its introduction to Earth.”

Jim is shocked and asks, “So ya brought it to Earth and then took it back?”

Kann Mer Ray and San Cirr Ray glanced at each other. Then Kann Mer Ray admitted, “Yes.”

Jim swallowed hard and asked, “Why?”

Kann Mer Ray stared at Jim for a few seconds before answering, “Suffice it to say, it was a mistake.”

Jim gave them both a questioning stare and then asked, “Why are ya allowing it to surface again on Earth?”

“We are allowing it for one reason.”

“Which is?”

“To hopefully stop the carnage of the present war in this country,” answered Kann Mer Ray. “There are also two conditions.”

Jim frowned and asked, “Which are?”

Kann Mer Ray declared, “That you are the only person permitted to carry the weapon and utilize it, and that you and your contingent of soldiers will submit to a mind sweep of the foray event once it is complete.”

Jim stared at the two aliens for several minutes.  Finally, shaking his head as if this was definitely too much information, he asked, “What’s a mind sweep?”

Kann Mer Ray explained, “It will eradicate any knowledge of the foray from start to finish.”

Jim gave them a concerned look, and after coming to a decision and countered, “How about ya giving a mind sweep to my men, but allowing me to remember tha foray?”

Kann Mer Ray and San Cirr Ray turned to each other and seemed to be communicating via mental telepathy. After a few minutes, the two aliens turned to Jim and replied, “That will be allowed on one condition.”

Jim gave them an exasperated look and demanded, “Such as…”

“That you will continue to help us stop this war if this foray doesn’t bring about its cessation,” replied Kann Mer Ray.

Jim turned as red as a beet in anger and rasped, “That could mean that someone would have to be killed.”

San Cirr Ray admitted, “That was the basis of changing Earth history in the past, but we are only interested in utilizing events to change history without the loss of human life.”

Jim’s eyes narrowed as he regarded the aliens.  “Who gives y’all tha right of playing with tha history of our people in tha first place?”

Kann Mer Ray looked gravely at Jim and declared, “TANTAS.”

Jim glanced at San Cirr Ray and then, focusing on Kann Merr Ray, asked, “Have ya mentioned this entity before?”

Kann Mer Ray smiled and nodded in the affirmative.

Jim looked perturbed and asked, “Well, who is he?”




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Civil War Transcendence, part 437

Since the ladies had their heads together in a closed conference, I believed that I could get into town and meet with the two Elves without being missed.

John Lee came back in a few minutes with a beautiful roan mare. He handed me her reins and smiled.

I took a few seconds to look her over. She had a big white spot on her forehead between her two big, brown eyes. Her left leg was white from the knee to the hoof. She was smaller than Stonewall, but she appeared sturdy enough. She never averted my gaze, but seemed to be studying me as intently as I was studying her.

I turned to John Lee and said, “She’s beautiful. What’s her name?”

John Lee replied, “I thought ya’d like her. She’s called Miss Dixie Belle.”

When I approached her, she never laid back her ears, and when I got close to her, she turned her head and nibbled the left sleeve of my coat. I laughed, and so did John Lee.

John Lee chuckled and added, “She’s quick as greased lightning. Maybe not as fast or strong as Stonewall, but she can change direction in a trice.”

I nodded and gently ran my hand down her forehead to her nose. She gently lipped my hand and I chuckled. I took her reins, laid them over her neck and climbed into the saddle. Taking a few seconds to tie her reins into a knot, I prepared for our initial journey.

Having finished my machinations, I turned to John Lee and said, “If anyone asks where I am, tell ‘em I am at tha school house. I might go by Hattie’s place on my way back, but I hope to be back by 9:00 tonight.

John Lee nodded, and I gently nudged Dixie Belle with my knees. She moved forward quickly and went into a very easy canter. I waved at John Lee as I left the stables and proceeding on the hidden path down to the Potomac Bridge.

In no time, I had passed through the pickets and entered the east end of town. Proceeding to the old schoolhouse, I dismounted and didn’t tie up Dixie Belle. I watched her for a moment to see how she would react. She immediately began to eat the grass in front of the school house and didn’t stray from the area.

I nodded my approval and entered my favorite place in Shepherdstown. A lot of memories came flooding back as I struck a lucifer and fired up the old lantern on my desk. I pulled out my plans for the Washington City foray that I had kept in my desk drawer and began to go over the details.

Dark descended quickly and I grew tired. I put my head on the desk and dozed for what seemed just a few moments. However, it was dark when I awoke. Almost immediately, I sensed a presence, pulled a Colt from my belt with my right hand and looked up.

Almost at once I heard a familiar voice say, “It’s only us Jim.”

I smiled and tucked my Colt back in my belt. Standing in front of my desk were Kann Mer Ray and San Cirr Ray.

The two Elves smiled back.

I began, “Well, I found out that there are seven Union check points along tha C & O pathway between tha village of Antietam and tha northwestern part of Washington City.”

Kann Mer Ray didn’t make any comment, but he crossed his arms, put his right hand on his chin and appeared to be lost in thought. I sensed he was analyzing how the Union check points could be put out of commission.

Finally, I nervously asked the most important question as far as I was concerned, “Were y’all able to make Greek Fire?”

He looked at me with a stern expression and said, “Yes.”



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