By Earl Corp
April 20, 1865
Near Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia
It had been a wet spring. The field that Mosby’s Partisan Rangers had camped in had almost instantly become a quagmire due to the amount of personnel and animals in such a small area.
A drizzle had been coming down all day, but morale wasn’t bad in the bivouac site, the foragers had liberated two cows which were now turning on a spit. This would be the first meat many of the troopers had had in a month.
The unit’s commander, John Singleton Mosby, was working on some reports at a field desk in his tent. An orderly stuck his head in and said, “Suh, a courier is here from Gen’rul Lee to see the Cunnel.”
“Send him in,” Mosby replied.
A youngster no more than 16, with straw-colored hair, in a butternut-hued shirt stepped in and saluted.
“Gen’rul Lee’s compliments, Suh.” He fished in his pouch and retrieved the document. He then added, “I’m to wait for a reply, Suh.”
Mosby took the dispatch, then hollered for his aide, “Lieutenant Myers!”
Myers appeared in the doorway.
“Take this young man to the cook’s wagon so he can get a meal and some coffee.”
“Yes Suh,” Myers said and motioned to the courier to follow him.
After the pair had left Mosby broke the seal on the envelope and began to read:
Commanding General, Army of Northern Virginia
To all field commanders:
At noon April 21, all hostilities are to cease and all units are to gather at Appomattox Courthouse and surrender their arms to the Union Forces.
Signed under my hand this day April 20 1865,
Robert E. Lee
Mosby had been expecting this since the army had gone into winter headquarters in December. What he wasn’t expecting was the added personal note Lee had written.
Since the Federals have a standing order to hang anyone in your unit, your troops are released immediately and are not to come to the surrender. Go with God’s blessing.
“Would you please tell the courier I have a response for General Lee. Once you’ve done that locate Sergeant Tyler and Corporal Ford for me,” Mosby said.
“Yes Suh, I believe Sergeant Tyler and Corporal Ford are at the picket line.”
“Fetch’em for me, please.”
Myers headed away to do what he was ordered. A few minutes later the courier appeared back at Mosby’s tent.
“Thanks for the grub, Suh, that the first square meal Ah’ve had in Ah don’t know how long”
“You’re very welcome son,” then Mosby further asked,” Do you know what was in this dispatch?”
“How do you feel about it?”
“It’s a damn shame, Suh, we wuz winnin’ until last year,” the courier replied. Then asked, “Is there a reply, Suh?”
“Tell the General thank you for his courtesy, with my compliments, and I will comply to the letter.”
Mosby then stuck out his hand and said, “Good luck son, maybe we’ll meet up again in days to come.”
The courier took Mosby’s offered hand and shook it.
“Thankee, Suh.” Then he saluted, turned and exited the tent.
Lieutenant Myers stuck his head in the tent and said, “Suh, Tyler and Ford are here.”
“Send them in.”
Sergeant Daniel "Boone" Tyler and Corporal Brady Ford entered the tent and saluted.
“Tyler and Ford reporting as ordered, Sir,” Tyler said.
Mosby returned the salute and looked at the pair. Tyler was over six feet tall with dark hair and shoulders wider than an ax handle. Ford was closer to five feet and ten inches with curly red hair on a compact muscled frame. Ford was the older of the two and found himself riding herd on the quick-tempered Tyler.
The duo had been trail partners since before the war. They had ridden to Virginia from Kansas to join Mosby’s outfit. They had originally ridden with Quantrill’s Raiders in Missouri. They had left Quantrill the night before the fateful raid on Lawrence, Kansas that resulted in the massacre of 150 civilians.
Neither Ford or Tyler had anything against shooting Yankees, but they drew the line when it came to cold-blooded murder of civilians.
“Boys, I’ve just received the word we will be surrendering tomorrow,” Mosby began. “General Lee and the rest of the army will be surrendering and turning over their weapons to the Yankees, we will not.”
Mosby reached into his bottom desk drawer and pulled out a bottle of 1824 Napoleon brandy.
“I was saving this to toast our final victory, but it looks like survival is all the victory we’re gonna get,” Mosby said.
He uncorked the bottle and took a swig then handed the bottle to Ford who upended it and drank deeply. He then handed the bottle to Tyler who took a deep pull on the bottle. Tyler passed the bottle back to Mosby who lifted it in a toast to Ford and Tyler.
“Much obliged, Colonel, it was a pleasure serving with you,” Ford said.
“The honor was mine,” Mosby said.
“What are you boys planning to do?” Mosby asked.
“We figgered on heading back to Kansas, if the Yankees allow it,” Tyler said.
“The yanks ain’t got any say in the matter, as of right now you boys are free to go," Mosby said. “At least you will be when this bottle is empty.”
Mosby then reached into his desk and handed each man $200 in U.S. currency.
“Consider this your mustering out pay.”
In October, Mosby’s Rangers had captured a supply wagon that happened to have a Union paymaster traveling with it. The unit had been on the move and Mosby hadn’t had an opportunity to turn the money over to higher headquarters.
Tyler eyed the money which represented the most he’d ever seen at one time in his life.
“Thanks, Colonel,” he said.
“You boys earned it, I wish it was more. Safe journey and God’s speed,” Mosby said as he lifted the bottle in a salute.
Buckle up Buckaroos, this is the first chapter in the exciting new book Tin Stars and Yankee Gold.
Cast of Characters
John Singleton Mosby- Confederate commander of the Partisan Rangers
Daniel "Boone" Tyler- Kansas boy who had cast his lot with the losing side of the Civil War. Goes by Boone.
Brady Ford- Longtime mentor to Boone. Had taught the younger man to ride, rope, and shoot
* This first chapter is based on historical fact with some poetic license taken. I hope you enjoy it
By Earl Corp
Near the Missouri/Kansas Border
Boone Tyler, former Sergeant CSA Cavalry, and former Corporal Brady Ford reigned up in front of the farmhouse.
“Hello the House,” Boone hollered.
“You reckon anybody’s home?” Brady asked.
A clattering from inside answered the question. A gray-haired man in bib overalls stepped out on the porch cradling a shotgun.
“Whatch ya’ll want?”
“We hoped to water our horses and mebbe get a meal for ourselves, we’re willing to pay for it,” Boone answered.
Boone kept a cautious eye on the shotgun. He had no doubt the man knew how to use it and wouldn’t hesitate to do so.
“You boys fight for the cause?”
“Yessir, with Mosby’s Rangers in Virginia,” Brady answered.
A big grin spread across the farmer’s face.
“Light and set, Boys, there’s beans and bacon on the stove, it ain’t much but yore welcome to it. My name’s Calvin Whipstock.”
Whipstock switched the shotgun to his left hand and stuck his right hand out.
“Pleased to meet a couple of Mosby’s men. You can water yore critters over yonder and there’s some grain in the barn it looks like yore animals can use some”
“I appreciate it sir, I’m Boone Tyler and this is Brady Ford,” Boone said as he took Whipstock’s hand.
After they had taken care of their animals Boone and Brady entered the house. Whipstock put the pot of beans in the middle of the table.
“Have a seat, boys, and dig in, coffee’s hot and there’s plenty of it.”
Brady ladled a plateful of beans out which he passed to Boone. At the same time Boone was pouring three cups of coffee. He passed the cups to Whipstock and Brady; Brady passed another plateful to their host. Each grabbed hunks of corn bread and attacked their plates. Since eating was serious business on the frontier, there was no idle chit chat during the meal.
Whipstock let out a big burp when he was done eating. Taking out a corn cob pipe he leaned back and filled the bowl. Striking a Lucifer match to the packed tobacco he puffed the pipe to life.
“Where ya’ll headed?”
Mopping up the last bean juice with a crust of bread, Brady answered.
“That’s probably best. The damn Yankees are making it uncomfortable around here for anybody whut wore the gray,” Whipstock said. “I’ll probably be doing the same my ownself next month.”
“Why would you do that? This place looks like it would support you,” Boone observed.
“That it would. Except some damn Yankee named Perkins showed up with a carpetbag full of money and is buying up all the properties comin’ up for tax sale.”
Mopping up the last bacon grease on his plate with a hunk of bread, Boone looked up and cocked his eyebrow.
“Is that so?”
“Yup. Came out here last week and said I owed $300 on my mortgage and he was going to evict me and take my place. I ain’t seen $300 cash since ’59.
“That’s a lot of specie,” Boone agreed.
“Said I got to vacate the premises by the end of the month. Won’t even wait to let me bring in my crop,” Whipstock said.
“Damn Yankees,” Brady added.
“It’s a damn shame. With the war over and all the night riders or soldiers trampling everything I might’ve come up with the money.”
“Maybe yore luck’ll change,” Boone said, then added, “In fact, I guarantee it.”
Brady looked at his partner quizzically.
“How can you guarantee it?”
“You know the Good Lord always provides for good folks that need it.”
“Amen,” Whipstock agreed.
As the pair saddled up, Boone asked Whipstock where the bank was located, it was in the town of Harleyburg.
“It’s three miles down the road you come in on. But it’s south and yore headed west."
“We need to supply up and thet’s as good as any place,” Boone said as he swung into the saddle. “Much obliged for the grub, and remember whut I said about the Lord looking out for good folks,”
A puzzled Whipstock looked at Boone.
“Take care, boys. Safe journey,” he said as he waved.
About a mile down the road Brady glanced at Boone and could see the wheels turning in as his friend was deep in thought. Another mile passed and the curiosity got the better of him.
“Why we headed to Harleyburg, we don’t need no supplies.”
Cast of Characters
Boone Tyler- Former Mosby Raider now outlaw
Brady Ford- Boone's partner in crime
Calvin Whipstock- Down on his luck farmer
J.C. Perkin- Yankee Carpetbagger
Joe Clark- Bank teller
Specie-money in the form of coins rather than notes.
This is chapter 2. Enjoy
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