When camping away from the regiment is an option, I always ride in that direction. I am still not accustomed to the babble and chatter of the cities and camps. I much prefer the chittering of chipmunks and the basso profundo of bullfrogs near the creeks. Add to these an even thunderstorm where the clouding sky breaks in the west, revealing ribbons of purples, pinks, and oranges, without a trace of militia blue or cadet grey, and I am as good as home. Sitting in my saddle, under my gum blanket, the air is damp and sweet with the scent of wild blossoms and rain. As good as home; and then the subtle scent of doubt sets upon me.
At times, I think myself a parlor soldier, a dandy dressed for the travelling gypsy show. This afternoon, the grateful ladies in Bowling Green were waving their handkerchiefs as I rode through the city in my shell jacket and cavalry boots, a Navy Colt on my side, my slouch hat tilted ever so slightly; a member of The Ninth Virginia Cavalry that rode Allemande right around McClellan’s army. I tip my hat to show my confidence, but I am a reluctant hero. A veteran, yes, but I have no taste for fighting; most men do not; they long to return to their green agrestic homes. Many cavalrymen return home from time to time, mostly under the guise of acquiring suitable horses. Were I not the courier to Colonel Lee, I would probably do the same, for I miss my girls; all of them, the blonde, buxom ones and the smallest ones, barefoot on tiptoe. Oh, to be with them all tonight, dancing the Virginia Reel, or simply listening to bullfrogs beneath purple pink skies.
Tomorrow, we will move towards Hanover Courthouse, where I shall bury a parcel of books I have acquired in recent weeks. The field of action is about to shift northward and I will need to travel light. The coming weeks of thunderstorms will be all blues and greys, and I fear the sounds shall be like nothing I have heard before.