Charlie handed the envelope to me and I took it gingerly. As I turned the envelope over, I noticed that the mark in the wax had a mark very much like something that I had seen years earlier during the war. However racking my mind as I was I could not remember where I had seen that design. I opened the envelope and took out the single sheet of paper. The letter head on the paper was the design of the Virginia State flag. The letter was dated some two weeks prior to the present date. And it was signed by the Commander of the State Militia. It read as follows:
>>>> From: Commander of the Virginia Militia;
>>>> To: Commander of the ------------County Militia;
>>>> You are directed to immediately submit to this office a list of the militia members under your command. In addition you are directed to forward to this office a list of all >>>> >>>> uniforms, accouterments, and weapons needed to bring your militia up to a wartime status. Further you are hereby requested and required to male list of the steps that >>>> you have taken in your county to fortify your borders against unwanted visitors, and those who would do your citizens harm.
>>>> Your Servant;
>>>> Respectfully ;
>>>> George Nanson , State Militia Commander
As I read this letter aloud to the group, I was interested in their receipt of this information. Frankly they were all shocked. When I finished reading the letter, I folded the page and put the letter back into the envelope and handed the envelope back to Charlie. The look of shock on his face told the whole story. I asked, "Would you like to write a letter of responses Charlie?"
"Huh??! Uh--- I-- uh NOt right now, uh-- How long do you plan to be here in town." Charlie's question was like listening to a ghost whose attention was totally taken by another subject.
"A day or two I suppose, depending on the business that comes our way," I replied
"Thanks," said Charlie as he turned away and headed for the door, motioning for Cass to come along with him. I needed to get back to the wagon, but under no circumstances could I arise the smallest suspicion in regard to Josh and I and our business. The words of this letter were the first authority which definitely had given some advance notice of the possibility of an armed insurrection. This material needed to get back to Washington as soon as possible.
I walked leisurely out of the poker room with the others, and remained silent listening to the others. Obviously, I was not a member of the village or the militia, so I had little to contribute. The others were very vocal about the impossibility of doing what the letter demanded, and the amount of material and uniforms that would be needed.
When we got to the part of the store where the merchandise was, I spent a few moments looking over the selection of fresh fruit. There was a large basket of apples which looked very good. I took one of them and carried it to the young girl who looked like she was in charge of the store. Cass was nowhere to be seen. "How much for the apple," I asked.
The little girl said, " Just a nickel Mr. My Dad said to tell you thanks when you came out of the Poker Room." The little girl said as though she was the real owner of the store. I decided to leave it at that. I definitely needed to get to the wagon and get the words in that letter down on paper!