Homer wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his sleeve; his thoughts momentarily drifted off to his sons (the one that died at 2nd Bull Run and the other two off "fighting for the Union), when the pigs started making a noise.
He looked over towards the pigs and then his young son Andrew came out "Pa! Pa! Soldiers coming up the road!"
Homer moved the pigs over towards the side of the barn, and then hurried towards the fenceline next to his house. For days there had been talk of Robert E. Lees Army of Northern Virginia, (the same very army that put his oldest boy in an early grave), crossing into Pennsylvania.
He looked down the road and expected to see the familiar blue coats and Stars and Stripes of the Union drifting in the hot sun.
He frowned at what he saw.
"Who are they Pa?" Andrew asked.
Homer swallowed hard, and felt his throat run dry. "Rebels." he said with a bitter taste in his mouth after he spat out the word.
"Where's our army Pa?" Andrew asked, his voice tinged with fear.
Homer watched as the men moved up the road towards him, looking down at his son, he took the boy by his shoulders. "Listen Andrew. Get in the house. Get your mother, and the money we have and get in the cellar. Stay there until I come for you."
"But Pa, I..." Andrew started to protest.
"Listen to me boy! Get your mother and hide NOW!" he said with a sense of urgent dread.
The boy nodded and ran into the house. Homer watched the door close and heard the latch bar come down. He nodded slightly to himself and turned back towards the army coming up the road.
The jingling sound of hooves, sabers and spurs of the cavalry were the first he'd seen. On the other side, two caissons with cannons and crew wheeled up and began unlimbering their guns. The crew worked quickly and smoothly; professionals at their trade, their guns gleaming in the bright sunlight.
Pennsylvania Farmer Homer Winslow watches in silence as Confederate Cavalry ride up the road towards Crummettsville...He worries about his sons...with one dead and the other two in this war, will his boys be facing these men soon?
Their trade of death...Homer thought...
The artillerymen ignored Homer, as the cavalry passed. Behind them he could see the infantry, their steady rythmn of their feet on the dusty road and the clanking of tin cups and the accoutraments of war keeping time with their pace. He noticed their faces. They were lean, hard, and confident of what they were doing. They too were professionals.
Confederate Cavalry lead the march towards Crummettsville. To the right is Presley's Tupelo Mississippi Artillery Battery. Infantry, Command Staff, and supply wagons can be seen further back...
A trio of officers rode up to Homer. The first officer seemed to be the senior. He tipped his hand to his hat in a salutory greeting.
"Suh, I hope you wouldn't mind if some of our men were able to fill their canteens at your well?" The officer was kind and courteous, but Homer knew that even if he refused, they would do so anyway. This was merely the Reb officers way of "putting it nicely".
Homer shrugged. "Waters free."
"Thank you suh." The officer said. "Would you happen to be interested in selling us any supplies or anything to feed our troops?"
Homer shrugged. "Harvest ain't in. Only got some apples. I got four hogs, but that's all I got for market and my family. I suspect you'll be taking them too..."
The officer shook his head. "I have orders from General Lee to conduct myself in a civilized manner suh. But we would like to buy your apples."
Over the next half hour, Homer watched as the Officer bought four bushels of Pennsylvania Reds and paid for it with "Good Confederate Money"...
Confederate Command Staff watch the army as it marches towards Crummettsville. Infantry troops can be seen on the road...
As the afternoon passed, Homer watched as the Confederate Troops marched up the road. They were confident, victorious, and jovial. They seemed to sense impending victory. They were part of the greatest army ever created, The Army of Northern Virginia, led by the finest general ever since Alexander...Gen'l Robert E. Lee...
And for all the war, the fighting had been in Virginia...
But now, they were here....Rebels...loose in Pennsylvania....
And Homer watched....and worried about his sons...
Confederate Supply Wagon and Infantry move towards Crummettsville...