Following the huge loss of manpower following the Bloody Bill’s ill-fated attack during the Peninsula Campaign, Anderson’s Company is reduced to skirmishing duty until it can be re-fitted. Orders are issued that a bridge just across the Ohio border is to be destroyed. Anderson commands the mission with the group being put in charge of the wagon containing the barrels of black powder that will be used to destroy the bridge.
The group travels through West Virginia easily enough (Confederate State), but the journey into Ohio is a difficult one through heavily forested hills and through weather that is unseasonably wet. After several days of travel, during late afternoon, the group comes across a steep ravine with a river at its base. A trestle bridge crosses the stream, and Anderson breaks into a smile for the first time in weeks.
McCoy informs Tully that the topography does not match that of the target bridge, and Tully approaches Anderson as he is directing soldiers. Anderson reacts angrily and repeated strikes Tully about the head and face with his riding whip, his last comment is heard by all, “We are in enemy country, that is a Union bridge and we will destroy it!”.
The group is sent to rip-up sections of railway as the demolition crew sets the barrels. As they are doing so, the piercing blast of a whistle cuts through the air, as a train approaches.
The driver sees the destroyed railway tracks and slams on the breaks, with the train screeching to a halt, it’s middle section coming to a halt over the bridge.
The Confederates swarm the train in search of loot. Most of the passengers are terrified and hand over their valuables immediately, however a man starts to stand-up and opens his mouth to say something to Anderson. In the blink of an eye, the sound frighteningly loud in the confines of the cabin, Anderson draws his heavy Colt Dragoon pistol and shoots him square in the forehead. Pandemonium erupts in the carriage for a few seconds, until he fires a second shoot through the roof. Then it goes eerily quiet, save for the muffled sobs of several women.
Just as everyone is wondering what to do next, a second train whistle cuts through the air – a second train is approaching. It comes to a screeching halt behind the first, before two men dressed in Union blue climb off and start walking to the bridge to investigate. A half dozen more also disembark and begin lighting pipes, stretching their legs etc, obviously taking advantage of the break in the journey.
The Southerners are quickly spotted and after letting loose a poorly organised volley of fire, the Union soldiers charge. A swirling battle then ensues, climaxing in Anderson ordering the detonation of the explosives, even though the train is still straddling the bridge. Fortunately, the majority of the civilians had fled the train as both the bridge and train are destroyed in a huge explosion of fire, quickly hidden by a rising smoke cloud.
The unit rapidly withdraws towards Confederate lines, Anderson apparently happy for the first time in weeks…