him how the "boys" were doing, what the state of the war was, and if the Yankees wouldever show up here. Warming up, I tipped my hat to the ladies and engaged in politeconversation, not an unpleasant job by any means. The Union cavalry rode into townbefore I had a chance to deliver my lines to the Sergeant, though.When the firing broke out from replica powder rifles, I gentlemanly assisted the womenand children into one of the cabins. I watched from the safety of the back porch as theUnion troops drove back the home guard.One of the first Rebel casualties fell about fifteen feet from where I was hiding. He wasa television news cameraman in his day job, and I’d talked with him earlier. I foughtdown an impulse to go out and help him, especially as a horse trampled excruciatinglynear his head. But that would not have fit my role. No civilian alive back then, even areporter, would be dumb enough to run between two battle lines.The Union soldiers drove back the Boys in Gray, and Yankee foot soldiers stormed thecabin and captured us. On the front porch, the soldiers began robbing the women andmenacing the children. When one got overly aggressive while taking a cup from awoman, I was driven to defend her honor and have it out with the blue-belly.The soldier got a little enthusiastic, shoving me around with his rifle, and I hit the deckand lost my wonderful top hat. I stood up and delivered my best line of the day: "Don’tyou mess with my hat."As we prisoners were shepherded to another cabin, some of the children were crying,frightened by the realism of the event. Rigged blasts from cannon went off every coupleof minutes, and the ladies pelted the Yanks with pine cones, shouted insults, andcheered the Rebel counterattack.Meanwhile, our captors called us "traitors" and worse, though the language wasgenerally kept in check for the benefit of the several hundred people in the audience. Acouple of the soldiers wore big grins despite their "wounded" condition, and most of thevictims managed to prop themselves against trees or fall out of the way of the cavalry.The air was thick with powder smoke, the smell of horses, and noise of gunfire andshouts. As the Rebs began to push back the invaders, the prisoners were released, andI counted Yankee bodies. I reported 25 casualties to the Sergeant, who asked, "Arethey all dead?" I answered something like "Not enough of them, sir."I "interviewed" one wounded soldier who said he was gut shot and could do with a pintof whiskey. I told him he was done for anyway, so he might as well enjoy himself. I’dseen the staged field hospital, and there were far too many bloody limbs lying around toafford much hope.