Friday, June 18, 2021



Standing Wolf came into the fort seeking Lieutenant Jefferson. Seeing him talking to Major Jenkins outside the soldiers' barracks, he walked in that direction. His heart was heavy, six English soldiers had been wounded in the fighting, only one seriously, but twenty-two Mohican warriors had fallen in the battle in the woods. Some of the French soldiers had fought fiercely and even though most of the Abenaki and Wyandot scouts had been taken down early in the fight, some of them had taken a Mohican warrior with them to the spirit world.

In the middle of their conversation, Lieutenant Jefferson noticed Standing Wolf, waiting patiently to talk with the English officers. "Standing Wolf, my brother, you are troubled."

"Yes Blue Eyes, we lost many warriors in the forest. Grey Bear would like to take our dead to a place where they can be sent to the spirit world properly. I know of your customs of burying the dead, we do that as well, but only after a period of days. And it must be near our ancestral home. He would take only twenty warriors, leaving the others here at the fort."

Jenkins nodded and said, "This is only right. Take what time you need. The French are not a threat right now. Neither are the Abenaki. We hurt them bad enough that it will be some time before they attempt another attack. Go my friend, take care of your dead, they died bravely and well."

Standing Wolf nodded and said, "I shall tell Grey Bear of your decision Long Knife, you are wise. I, however, will not be going. Grey Bear wants me to lead the warriors being left here."

"Very well, I, for one, am glad you are staying," Jenkins said.

Jacques and Little Wolf had managed to avoid the Mohicans who were hunting down the fleeing French stragglers. Most of them were killed and scalped when caught. Some were taken prisoner. Jacques was surprised to see one small party of captives being taken back to the fort. He looked at Little Wolf and said, "They are taking them to les anglais? I would have thought that the Mohicans would have taken them to their own camp and tortured them."

"No, I think the chief of les anglais wishes to talk with them. To try and find out why the French were here. Perhaps they don't know that the war drums have sounded between les français and les anglais." Little Wolf spoke as if were unsure, which he was, his dealings with Europeans other than the Gaudry brothers were limited.

"I did not see Alain among the captives." Jacques was beginning to despair of his brother's survival.

"I think he is still alive, he is a strong man, and smart."

Alain Gaudry was indeed still alive. He had been knocked unconscious by a fragment of another man's skull when the first English volley had torn into their ranks. The man in front of him had been hit, his head shattered, Alain had also been doused with that man's blood. The English soldier who had found him was stunned that he was alive. He had looked awful.

Other than a throbbing headache and a large knot on his forehead, Alain was very much alive. He was in a makeshift stockade where the English were keeping their captives. All of whom were French, none of whom were his brother Jacques. He was worried about his brothers, he included Little Wolf in that category. He had not seen a single Abenaki or Wyandot survivor from the battle.

What would he tell his father if he ever returned to New France? His father was right, they should have stayed coureurs de bois, Alain had had more than enough adventure wearing a uniform. Army life did not suit him at all.

"Begging your pardon Major, but what are we going to do with these prisoners?" Captain Manderson was new to the frontier, he had heard stories of prisoners being killed out of hand. But surely that was the savages, not his fellow Englishmen.

"I suspect I'll need to put a party together and take them back to Rumford. Let the Crown worry about them. I certainly don't want to either house them or feed them for very long." Major Jenkins looked out towards the river, he could see the Mohican burial party crossing the Cannitticutt. Grey Bear had said that they would return "before the next moon," which Jenkins interpreted as the next full moon, which was in roughly two weeks.

"Your Sergeant Major, MacDuff I believe, is he reliable?"

"Yes Sir, he's a good man, was in the Coldstream Guards before coming out here. Apparently there was something about a gambling debt. Couldn't stay with the Guards of course, but the Governor saw fit to make him a sergeant major, and he's proven himself rather good at it. Why?"

Jenkins thought for a moment, then said, "I'd like you to take a detachment of thirty to forty men and escort the prisoners back to Rumford. Your man MacDuff can command your company while you're gone. Is that acceptable to you?"

It was Manderson's turn to think. The trip out here had been arduous to say the least, he didn't relish making the trip back to Rumford then returning here again, and so soon. "Might I have some of your Mohicans as scouts? I'd feel much better about the round trip."

"Who wants my warriors and for what?" Lieutenant Jefferson jumped into the conversation unbidden and unexpected as he walked up.

"At ease Leftenant, I know how you feel about colonial officers. Out here, I don't care what London says, I am your superior officer. I would like to attach some of your men as scouts to Captain Manderson's column when he takes the French prisoners to Rumford."

Jefferson arched at eyebrow at that, "Why waste the manpower, Sir, if I might be so bold, Sir? Just let the Frenchies go free, tell 'em to head north. I doubt that we'll ever have to worry about them again."

Manderson was rather shocked at the cold-bloodedness of Jefferson's proposal, perhaps they were all savages out here, this lieutenant certainly dressed like one. Then again, to not have to make that trip?

"That is quite out of the question Leftenant, it is barbarous that you should suggest such a thing..." Jenkins began.

"On the other hand, Major..." Manderson interjected.

"What, you as well, Captain?"

"The Abenaki are their allies, surely they won't harm these Frenchmen. The trek north would take them many days, and you have already detached a sizeable number of Mohicans from your command, detaching another thirty to forty men would leave you weak here. If the Abenaki were to gather their strength..." Manderson made it all sound so reasonable.

Then Jefferson chimed in again, "The scouts are my men Major, I am seconded to the 29th Foot and their commander sent me to rally the Mohicans to our side. I am not under your command, neither officially nor by any agreement between the Governor of this province and the Crown. I am free to come and go as I see fit in order to accomplish my mission. Need I remind you, Major, that because of my position in the Foot Guards, I rank as a major in the regular service. Also, as I am an officer in the King's Guard, I am certainly higher in rank than a mere colonial."

Jenkins began to turn bright red, he was astonished at the effrontery of this man. "You Sir, are, I might remind you, thousands of miles from London and your precious regiment. I hold the command of this fort, if you wish to remain here, you will obey my commands. Otherwise, I invite you and your scouts to depart."

Oh dear Lord, what have I gotten into the middle of? Manderson asked himself.

Jefferson simply nodded, turned on his heel and called out, "Standing Wolf, gather the men. We are going north to hunt the Abenaki!"

They marched out of the fort that very day.

Sergeant Major Jacobs stood atop the western palisade with his commanding officer, who was still fuming as he watched Jefferson and his Mohicans head out of the fort, then bend to the north.

"Bloody pompous ass." Major Jenkins muttered.

Jacobs simply said, "Begging yer pardon Sir, that was a mistake. I hope it doesn't get us all bloody well killed. Begging yer pardon. Sir."

Jenkins said nothing, he knew that Jacobs was right and he knew he could have handled things better. As he watched the scouts disappear into the woods, he turned to Jacobs and said, "Tomorrow morning cut the Frenchies loose, send 'em home, send 'em north."


"You heard me Sarn't Major." Jenkins then went down the ladder and to his quarters without another word.

Jacobs sighed, then shook his head, "Bleeding officers and their bleeding honor."

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  1. I am proud of Jefferson for playing his trump card. His commission is to serve the Crown, as he best sees fit. He is not wrong!

    1. "Bloody pompous ass." Was probably about what Jefferson was thinking, just then.

    2. Patrick #1 - He's a Guards officer, they tend to be adamant as to their perceived duties.

    3. Patrick #2 - In all fairness to Major Jenkins, he is under an extraordinary amount of pressure, but (as you can tell) he's not very diplomatic.

      There was a LOT of friction between colonial officers and those who held their commission from the Crown.

  2. There may be hope for Alain yet, Jacques and Little Wolf might be searching for him. Ah....ranks and ego.....some things never change.

    1. Don't count Alain out just yet. The brothers are very resourceful.

  3. So Jenkins shows all the skill of English officers that they continued to exhibit right up through Gallipoli!!!

  4. Sadly, more of the Mohicans and Abenaki die than the British and French and cannot be replaced. Even Jefferson, who genuinely seems to care for the Mohicans, cannot see the longer term damage he is doing.

    As usual - human nature being what it is - it does not take long for the victory to fall apart.

    1. French casualties were higher then the Abenaki Mohican casualties combined. Due to the disparity in numbers between New France and the English colonies, they too could not be easily replenished. But as we know from history, the Native Americans really got screwed in the long run.

  5. Interesting. Right after a substantial victory, throw it all away by screwing the locals and dividing one's forces. Nice...

    And now I see how our American Military Tradition of winning big in battle and losing the post-war came about. Sad, very sad. Sucks even.

    Oh, well. Oh, bother.

    At least the two freres might meet up again on this side of Heaven.

    1. There is usually a bit of a let down after a victory in battle. Also, Jenkins was starting to think of the Mohicans as "his Indians," when they most assuredly were not. Jefferson has lived with the Mohicans for over a year. He and they are of like minds.

    2. Well understand how these things happen. T'would be nice if BOTH officers paused to reflect a moment and cool off but that's certainly not the way to bet. Jenkins and Jefferson actually make a good team.
      Good of the SarMajor to use the teachable moment.
      Boat Guy

    3. I'm not sure how this will play out in the long run. We've not heard the last of Jefferson.


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