Nathan C. Bradley
130th New York Infantry
July 14, 1863
Frederick, Maryland

Nathan caught up with the 130th New York at Frederick. He quickly learned that many changes had occurred while he'd been on furlough. Like when a general rode by, all brass buttons and brass staff officers. Nathan asked, "Isn't that General Meade?"


"What do you mean, 'sure'?"

"Don't you know? We're part of his headquarters guard!"

"When did that happen?"

"Soon as we marched in here. Colonel says the General thought we looked so good, he wanted us with him. On the cars coming here, Colonel Gibbs had us clean our uniforms, and ordered us to march into town right smartly, as if we were on parade. Don't know if this is what he was shootin' for. But you know he has friends in high places, from his Mexico and Indian days."

Left: Col. Alfred Gibbs, 130th NY Infantry. Right: Major General George Meade, Army of the Potomac.

"Headquarters detail, huh?"

"We are part of the Provost Guard."

"So does that mean we won't have to fight?"

"Not unless headquarters is attacked. Say, something else you might not have heard. You know we're converting to cavalry?"

"What? Are you serious?"

"Dead serious!"

"I mean, I know Colonel Gibbs was a cavalryman, and that he has powerful friends, but that's unheard of, isn't it?"

"Yep. First time an infantry unit ever converted to cavalry."

"So where are the horses?"

"I have been asking that question for two weeks! I wish I knew!"

Another fellow jumped into the conversation to say "Don't you remember? The deal was, if we, Colonel Gibbs and the officers and all of us, can arrange for just half the horses we need, then the army will provide the rest."

"Oh, yeah."

The interloper continued, "The colonel called the regiment into formation and asked for the men's help in obtaining horses. If enough men could get us either horseflesh or money, maybe with help from the folks back home, then we can switch to cavalry."

Nathan asked, "So, how about it? Can we get enough horses?"

"Everybody thinks so. All the boys are excited at the prospect of not marching on our own feet anymore!"

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© 2019 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved. May not be re-published without written permission of the author.